all that jazz

james' blog about scala and all that jazz

Chrome - a new rich client platform?

Just when I finally got a mobile device that was (just) powerful enough to use most websites without pain, what does Google do? They bring out a new browser, which raises the bar for the minimum requirements needed to run websites. Ok, sure, there doesn't currently exist any websites that take advantage of Chromes performance. But I think you'll find that Google will start releasing enhanced versions of their apps targeted at Chrome, and, if Google are lucky and play their cards right, people will flock to switch to Chrome in order to use the cool new features of the Chrome version of their apps. And then what use will my the browser on my iPhone be?

But the thing to note about what Google have done here, is that they have created an improved new rich client platform for the web. As a response to the difficulties of using JavaScript and HTML to create rich client interfaces on the web, Adobe released Flex and Sun released JavaFX. These technologies have a chance at success due to the existing widespread availability of Flash and Java, respectively. But what they have against them is that they don't play well with the existing web ecosystem. For example, a search engine can't index a Flex or JavaFX site. However, it can index a well written AJAX site. The back button doesn't work on Flex and JavaFX sites, but again, can work in a well written AJAX site. Copying and pasting URL's is a similar issue.

Google have addressed the exact same problem that Adobe and Sun have tried to address, but Google has taken the opposite approach. Rather than rewrite the protocols and standards used in web based applications, they've beefed up the client to make better use of the existing protocols and standards. If V8 is really up to standard performance wise, who knows, you may find soon when visiting YouTube with Chrome, that you don't need a flash player, the videos are rendered by JavaScript1. You may also find something similar for Google Street View.

1 Maybe this is a little far fetched, but, if they were to write some JavaScript extensions, which they can do now, and everyone would love because then they can ditch Adobe and Flash, it just may be possible.

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Hi! My name is James Roper, and I am a software developer with a particular interest in open source development and trying new things. I program in Scala, Java, PHP, Python and Javascript, and I work for Lightbend as a developer on Lagom. I also have a full life outside the world of IT, am a passionate Christian, enjoy playing a variety of musical instruments and sports, and currently I live in Canberra.

I also have a another blog called Roped In about when my wife and I lived in Berlin for a year to help a church reconnect with its city.