It was a great idea and a lofty goal but greed and competitive pressure
seem to have killed its viability as a standard element of our web-browsing
What am I talking about?
Java of course.
When Sun announced Java it made the claim that you'd be able to write your
software once and run it on any platform -- something that was extremely
attractive to many software developers who were otherwise faced with
the costly task of producing multiple versions to support multiple operating
The reality was, of course, a little less than the utopia that Sun described,
but it was a whole lot closer than anything which had come before.
One excellent feature was that Java was a language which addressed many of the shortcoming of
languages such as Visual Basic, C, C++ and others. It made the programmer's
life a whole lot easier and that made the resulting programs cheaper to build
One of the best things was that over 90 percent of all web browsers were
able to run Java programs. With only a few annoying exceptions, it really
was a method of extending a user's browser without annoying, frustrating and
potentially troublesome downloads and installation processes.
Indeed, I used Java to create and build the 7am.com news-ticker network -- the
largest web-based news ticker network in the world involving some 200,000
third-party web pages. No other technology could have delivered the functionality
required to do this.
But now Java has been declared terminally ill as a generic web-based solution
and it's Microsoft's doing.
Microsoft has decided that it's going to go its own way with its .Net strategy
and it will no longer be including the Java engine as a standard component of
its Internet Explorer browser as of version 6.0.
Instead we'll probably see Bill and his boys forcing the market to use their
latest-and-greatest language C# (pronounced see-sharp).
Given Microsoft's proven bad track record and proven lack of understanding
when it comes to providing safe, secure distributed code solutions (anyone
care to count the security flaws in Active-X?), I believe this spells bad
news for Net users.
The dream of being able to deliver a single piece of safe, secure programming
code that will run across all major browsers is dying. A shame really --
but that's life in a market which has such a dominant player who's able to
unilaterally call the shots.
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying that Java is dead -- it will continue
to be the cornerstone of a large number of intranet and enterprise applications --
but we're not going to see it on the average websurfer's desktop in 12 months
Send me your comments.
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