One reason I think Web Applications (as opposed to the now watered-down term of Rich Internet Applications) are great for users and developers, is because they do not need to be installed directly on the user's computer. This is one thing I think Adobe has misunderstood about the 'RIA' revolution with AIR. Read the rest of this entry ...

§457 · April 21, 2008 · Adobe, Ajax, RIA, Software, Technology, Web · Comments Off on Web Apps: The Critical Difference · Tags: , ,

The Next Big Thing from Laszlo, OpenLaszlo 4 (OL4) codenamed "Legals", is nearing completion and we should see a first Beta in January. This is the release of OpenLaszlo that will be able to compile to more than one runtime, allowing web developers to target either Flash or DHTML. In future versions of OL we might see more runtimes added to support Microsoft's WPF/E and W3's SVG and SMIL.

It will be interesting to see how web development will change in the coming year, as DHTML toolkits like Dojo, YUI, MochiKit, Google Web Toolkit, Microsoft Atlas continue to mature, Adobe's Flex 2 continues making inroads and Microsoft's WPF/E deployment gets underway in earnest. Meanwhile, the venerable Java Platform is still evolving, parts of it now open source and Jave SE 6 recently becoming available.

All of these are signs that seasoned web developers are finally ready to move up the tool-chain stack away from the simple text editor. I think key things to look for in differentiation between the various frameworks are:

  • Tool Support: What kind of developer tools are out there to support development in your framework/language(s) of choice? From what I understand, Adobe has always been good with developer tools. On the Java side, there's NetBeans. On the DHTML side, there's Eclipse's wtp. Maybe it's time I looked into IDEforLaszlo in the New Year. Do your tools allow you to quickly and easily test and debug your code?
  • Community Involvement: Not necessarily just an open source community, but a vibrant one with lots of energy and open participation. Of course, a transparent development process will help here.
  • Cross-Platform Support: You need to support all of the "high tier" browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari and you need to support multiple operating systems equally. People are passionate about their browsers and operating systems. Projects need to be careful not to lose the next hot web developer to a more compatible framework.
  • Ease of Deployment: How easy is it to change one line of code and deploy that change? That was always one of the beauties of the early days of the web - simply update your HTML file and save it on the server
  • Beware Of Vendor Lock-In: This is going to sound very anti-corporate, but the truth is that when one company controls the toolkits and the standards, there is always the potential for that project to be shelved or neglected or dropped in favour of new ventures. This ends up taking its toll on the web developer. With open standards and open source toolkits, developers can shield themselves from the whims of corporations.

Needless to say, competition will engender a very exciting year, with the winners being the web community as projects vie for the hearts of hackers everywhere, sparking further innovation. I hereby dub 2007 as the year of the "Web Hacker Wars" - let the battle begin!

§321 · December 19, 2006 · Adobe, Ajax, Google, JavaScript, Laszlo, Microsoft, RIA, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · Comments Off on Let the Web Hacker Wars Begin ·

Apparently the Chicago area is supposed to be hit with the biggest snowstorm in 28 years for December 1st. So, in celebration, I've turned on the snow in my blog header. For those with cool web browsers like Firefox 1.5+ or Opera 9 (or even the not-cool browser Internet Explorer with the Adobe SVG Viewer plugin) you might need to right-click in the image frame to force reload ... or wait until your browser's cache pops. For those curious, the SVG does not display at all using Emiasys' Renesis plugin ... pooh.

Anyway, sorry for the CPU hit, but 'tis the season. If anyone can let me know if a Safari nightly build displays the snow yet, that would be awesome - you can consider it your Christmas present to me.

Hm, I wonder if I should try to modify the library to use the Dojo2D API in the Dojo toolkit for that true cross-browser effect. That might prove to be a fun little project and a good way to dip my toe in the Ajax toolkit pool...

[Update: Merry Christmas to me. Allan Jardine tells me in his comment below that it's snowing in Safari too. Great news!]

§297 · November 30, 2006 · Adobe, Ajax, Firefox, JavaScript, Life, Opera, RIA, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · 1 comment ·

I agree with Ryan: I don't think there is a "Google OS" product. To Google, the "operating system" is the browser, that's why they're putting money in Mozilla's pockets. Too bad Google Documents doesn't support Opera 9 yet (though if you append "&browserok=true" to the URL, you can at least create documents, not spreadsheets).

§294 · November 27, 2006 · Ajax, Firefox, Google, Opera, QuickLinks, RIA, Software, Technology, Web · Comments Off on Google No-OS ·

The good folks at Opera have quietly rolled out the first Beta version of their Dev.Opera website, a "community resource site where developers can share tips, tricks, extensions and more".

There are some articles on the site that delve into SVG, JavaScript, Ajax, etc. I'm writing a series of articles there about integrating SVG into web applications, so walk on over there and check it out (read Part One).

§286 · November 7, 2006 · Ajax, JavaScript, Opera, QuickLinks, Software, SVG, Technology, Web · Comments Off on Dev.Opera Now In Quiet Beta ·