A new browser war

We are the brink of a new war in browser land. On top of the Firefox versus IE divide, multiple companies are now taking position to dominate the delivery model in your browser. Regardless whether you are running IE or Firefox.

It is obvious to everyone that the current browser based programming model based on Javascript manipulation of a so called DOM tree should and will be replaced by something better.

The alternatives so far to this have been marginally successful, Adobe with Flash and Java with it’s JVM and capability to run applets. Adobe did not have enough supporters in the server side programming world. Sun applets just looked awful.

Microsoft is experimenting with Silverlight running on its CLR virtual machine. Sun is entering the arena with JavaFX, a union of javascript, flex and java running on its JVM virtual machine. I have written about Apollo before, the new programming platform from Adobe. First aimed at the desktop, now this Adobe Virtual Machine is evolving to the browser, it has a new name Adobe AIR, but its principles have remained the same. Adobe is in the process of opening the virtual machine to run other languages and thus also opening up the developer eco system. They have already successfully worked with the Firefox team in project Tamarin.

The there is discussion about which scripting language to support in the VM’s. Is it an evolution of Javascript or Actionscript or is it a revolution. Microsoft and Firefox have different opinions.

The browser is the major delivery platform and will drive the programming language and model. No doubt will all three major contenders (Adobe, Sun and Microsoft) find a way to install their respective Virtual Machines in most browsers. Only time will tell who gets most mind share from developers, organizations and end-users.

Interested in where Javascript is going see a presentation by Brendan Eich, the creator of Javascript 1.

Why does this remind me of VHS, Betamax and V2000? Impossible to choose upfront, sorry when you have chosen the wrong one.


One Response to “A new browser war”

  1. Peet Says:

    It seems you missed out on the HD DVD vs. Blue Ray war, recently won by Sony (aka Blue Ray). 😉

    I think you overlooked the premise of a war exceeding the mere browser: the huge mobile advancements, proclaimed to be the most important platform in the next few years with data plans becoming affordable and wifi being as common as, well, having a cold.

    Microsoft and Adobe might start their battles on the desktop, but will win or loose the war on your cellphone or some other general purpose mobile device. Perhaps Google will take the market with Android, or even Apple’s iPhone Applications? Either way, building slick networked front ends to cloud computed service applications seems to be the real game.

    Enough buzwords for you 😉

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