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Java On The Web: RIP 19 July 2001 Edition
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Microsoft own the desktop and the web-browser market, of that there can be no doubt.

So what does it mean when the software giant decides against including Java support in its next release of Windows?

Yes, it's "curtains" for Java on the Web.

This may be great news for many those who regularly encounter really awful (ab)uses of Java on the Web -- but it's incredibly bad news for those dot-coms who have built a business reliant on the "write-once, run anywhere" language.

A good example of a site with "nowhere to go" is 7am.com.

The cornerstone of this service is the 7am.com Java news ticker applet which is, according to the site's front page, now installed on almost 200,000 webpages around the world.

Unfortunately, it would appear that someone who installs Windows XP complete with IE6 simply won't see that ticker any more. Nor will they be able to navigate those sites dumb enough to rely solely on dorky Java-based navigation buttons

If past history is anything to go by, users of Internet Explorer are usually pretty quick to update their browser to the latest version, so it would be reasonable to assume that 7am.com, and other sites relying on Java, will notice a rapid decline in traffic after XP/IE6 launches.

Microsoft are promising a replacement technology for the missing Java-- but we haven't seen it yet and I don't hold too much hope of it magically appearing before the October release of XP.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • ms - java... - bede
  • Microsoft dropping Java... - Robbie
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    Anticipate, Adapt, or Die
    This vulnerability highlights one of the most important things about survival on the Internet -- the ability to anticipate and adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

    We've already seen how an inability to respond quickly to change has doomed so many dot-com ventures and the nixing of Java is just another step in the Web's evolution.

    Perhaps the most obvious example of how this inability to adapt has doomed so many is the effect of the crashing Net-advertising market.

    When the dot-com bubble burst back in March 2000, there were literally thousands of Net-ventures, many built with millions of dollars of investor capital, that suddenly lost their one and only revenue stream.

    Far too many of them were immediately doomed to bankruptcy -- because they were incapable of adapting and finding other ways to earn money.

    Others, lacking in inspiration and imagination, simply moved to a user-pays model and started charging a subscription. We have yet to see if that's going to save them -- but I doubt it.

    Isn't it funny that in these days of ultra-hi-tech, one old adage still rings true: "never put all your eggs in one basket."

    If you're planning an Internet venture (what, no hands raised?), don't design your business so that there are critical dependencies on markets or technologies that may disappear at "Net-speed."

    The Net we'll see in just 5 years time will probably massively different to the one we use today -- flexibility and the ability to adapt are skills crucial to the very survival of any online business.

    Java is Not Javascript
    Just a clarification for the many who are obviously confused about the difference between Java and Javascript.

    Javascript is a "scripting" language that is coded into the text that makes up a webpage -- so it loads along with the page. It's Javascript that puts those horrible scrolling text-banners on the status-line of your browser and which several local sites used to create that awful cursor-chasing text-ad for Telstra recently. It's also Javascript that produces those irritating pop-under/over/up windows that we all hate so much.

    Microsoft WILL continue to ship Javascript support with XP.

    Java, by comparison, is a full-blown programming language like C, BASIC or C++.

    Java applets are programs which are written separately to the webpages on which they appear and then compiled into a computer-readable code that is loaded separately to the webpage on which they appear.

    Java is inherently more powerful than Javascript but has been crticised for being slow-to-load and sometimes problematic -- causing the occasional browser crash.

    Unfortunately Java copped a bad rap shortly after it was launched because people used it for all the wrong things -- such as replacing a 15Kbyte animated GIF with a 100Kbyte applet.

    Early versions of Java were also buggy as hell -- which clearly didn't help the public's perception.

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