Flash -vs- Applets

Michael L Torrie torriem at chem.byu.edu
Wed Nov 15 12:40:41 MST 2006

On Wed, 2006-11-15 at 11:10 -0800, Blake Barnett wrote:
> On Nov 15, 2006, at 10:53 AM, Michael L Torrie wrote:
> > On Wed, 2006-11-15 at 11:05 -0700, Bryan Sant wrote:
> >> Now that Java is going GPL, does that change your opion about applets
> >> as an end user?  Would you prefer to see a rich web interface in
> >> OpenLaszlo (Flash-based) or a Java Applet? How about an applet or
> >> applets in a page instead of AJAX?
> >
> > I think for rich, internet-delivered applications, WebStart is an even
> > better method than applets, ajax, or flash.  Such applications are
> > web-delivered but run standalone, and aren't even in the web  
> > browser so
> > you aren't tempted to try clicking on the back button.  I find the web
> > browser as an application-delivery mechanism is a pain no matter if it
> > is flash, ajax, or java applets.  While ajax has helped web pages be
> > more dynamic, and enabled things like gmail to work almost as well  
> > as a
> > standalone app, I think shoehorning everything into a web browser pane
> > is a mistake.
> So by that logic, all they have to do is open a browser window with  
> no controls and you'd be happy with that?  ;)

That would solve people's complaints about ajax, yes.  In some respects
the argument about not being able to use back and forward is a
red-herring because an application like a word processor shouldn't have
a need to do any kind of back or forward navigating.  Even in g-mail you
shouldn't worry about the back button.  I don't have a back button on my
Evolution e-mail client and it works just fine.  I just click on the
folder or message I want to see, then click on a new one.  There are
"next message" and "previous message" buttons, but they don't have
anything to do with navigation as one would think of while browsing
simple hypertext documents.

Xul applications run in a browser window but with no controls other than
the ones created by the xul app itself.  And they, like java webstart
apps, are self-contained, web-delivered, and standalone.  They use Gecko
to render controls, text, forms, etc, but the app does not behave like a
web page.

So maybe xul (and whatever MS's version is called) is the wave of the
future.  I dunno.  It's funny that I used to think poorly about ajax
because of the navigation breaking features, but in writing my response
I've convinced myself that such an argument is, in many cases, silly.

> -Blake
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