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JavaScript catching up in RIA Race

Posted by Charles | December 4, 2007 .

I’m amazed by what JavaScript can do these days. The more I look into it, the clear the pattern showing up. In the RIA race, JavaScript is really catching up. I know people will argue that JavaScript (AJAX) was in the lead the first place. However…well…let put that argument aside. Here is another example of interactive DOM scripting, which can easily fool you as a Flash too.

I think the reasons that JavaScript posts bigger threat to visible RIA technology providers like Adobe but in the mean while it has been discounted are:

JavaScript has no owner

I know there is this ECMAScript and that’s what Adobe ActionScript comes from. However, there is nobody commercially behind JavaScript own it as a all-in-one technology (comparing to something like Java.) Therefore, there is no organized marketing. We’ve started seeing AJAX packages vendors but in general the language itself has its own life. However, everyone can do JavaScript and there are tons of example codes out there to cut and paste. There are all sorts of open source JavaScript packages you can tap into to build something quick. All you need is notepad. The entry point is this low that when it’s getting that good, it makes Flash, Silverlight or JavaFX look like the Giants to deal with.

JavaScript relies on browser

You can’t do much without a browser to run the JavaScript. It’s been considered a barrier. However, browser is getting into the RIA race too. Just open up the eyes and check out the large amount of Firefox plugins. Those are applications, and Firefox is an application development platform, already. Also, the Firefox 3 is promising a lot more. Put the JavaScript and Browser together, I would think they give each other wings.

Javascript depends on web standards

HTML, DOM, JSON, CSS, XML, etc. all those uppercase words have something to do with JavaScript’s destiny. The standard organizations are slow, slower than crowing actually. They are not market driven so that they don’t care that much what Flash or Silverlight or JavaFX will do to browser technologies. However, once the next generation standards released, in next couple of years. These HTML 5, CSS 3 and revived SVG ,etc combined with new browsers like Firefox 3 and ever powerful JavaScript, man! That’ll be a very colorful and different landscape.

Adobe is doing a lot more on AIR to integrate with HTML and JavaScript. I think they should go further and seriously taken JavaScript as a thread and start dealing with it. The result, hopefully, is Flash/Flex/AIR/Lite will be even better.

interactive DHTML DOM example

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3 Comments so far
  1. Justin Bozonier  December 5, 2007 10:12 am

    I’d like to point a couple of things out… First of all that DHTML Flash-like example that you are showing takes up 80-90% of my CPU time and stutters fairly consistently. I love javascript and dhtml but it has its practical limits (you can do anything in it but not necessarily efficiently).

    Adobe took this into account and they do support both Flex and AIR interacting with javascript. I think really what we need to understand is that there needs to be a language I can write that compiles to browser specific javascript. Just like how c++ is used by many over assembly language. Those who aren’t leveraging the specific strengths of individual platforms shouldn’t have to program to them.

    On top of that, HTML wasn’t designed by UI guys. It makes me feel a lil better having Flash and Flex and AIR being worked on by a group in the creative industry.

  2. Charles  December 5, 2007 10:40 am

    I like your thought about compiling JavaScript into browser platform. Most of time, the more creative the more CPU required at client side. The demand on performance will be drastically increased.

    I can’t agree more about the “creative industry” comment. I always believe the success of Flash is because of the designer base (where java or else lack of.)

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