Flash -vs- Applets

Paul Seamons paul at seamons.com
Wed Nov 15 13:53:29 MST 2006

> ... only data is transmitted instead of both data and
> presentation as is the case with HTML.

True if the HTML is sans AJAX.

> This is actually why I'm interested in this technology.  Browsers are
> diverse and buggy.  Browsers render things differently, behave
> differently, implement different levels of different standards.

True.  It is a nice broken mess.  Probably the only way to fix this is to 
abandon the browser.  Maybe.

> Modern Java Applets work the same on every machine, regardless of the
> browser.  Coding to the Java Applet standard would make HTML/XHTML/CSS
> standards (and how they are implemented in different browsers)
> irrelevant.

... until Java is open sourced and different distros release different 
versions.  Oh wait, it is open sourced.  I'm sure most distros will try not 
to fragment the market, but there will be more versions of run times now that 
Sun isn't the only distributor.  Hopefully they will remain compatible - so I 
don't have to install Red Hat's release in order to get the features I need 
in the applet.

> Just code your applet and it will look and function the 
> same on every user's computer.

Is that good?  I don't recall ever seeing a Java Applet UI that didn't look 
like it was using Windows 3.1 toolkit.  Often Applets make Tk applications 
look modern.  I am not intending for those to be fighting words - but I 
really haven't.  If you have examples of an Applet UI that looks remotely 
integrated with the UI of the host OS or at least has a well designed 
interface (looks - not layout), I'd be interested to take a look.  Maybe this 
has been or will be addressed with recent or future releases - I just haven't 
seen the results yet.

> I'm wondering if HTTP and the browser can be used for more than what
> we traditionally expect from it.  RIA isn't a new idea, but maybe now
> it will be a more reasonable direction to take sophisticated systems
> that you want to be "web-based".

That will happen as soon as all of the web developers and designers learn 
Java.  Which means that there will continue to be AJAX, Apollo, WebStart, 
Java Applets, Flash, and whatever the next flavor of the month is.

Universal Java Availability (tm), assuming that it exists, will make 
programming RIA easier for a certain subset of the market that programs and 
depends upon RIA.  Applets have a certain distance to travel still before 
they are a viable replacement for what Flash does.  Open sourcing will allow 
for the creation of a set of foundation classes that more easily mimic in 
Java what is available in Flash.  Oh - and they'll have to make Java Applet 
builder tools that are as easy to use as the Macromedia Products.  Simple 
enough.  Maybe we'll have all of that by Christmas :)  Of 2010 :(  Or 2011.

I can guarantee that in the next few years there will be emerging technologies 
(plural) that fill the void that is sane RIA.  And some of them will be 
spelled differently than anything available now.  Still I do agree that 
Universal Java Availability will help with one corner of the market.

Paul Seamons

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