Truly nerds only.
Twice in recent days (here and here) I've mentioned my reactions to Chrome, the new browser from Google. A number of
dopes "low information readers"* have written asking what I have against this new entry in the browser wars.
Nothing at all! I am now using it, alongside Firefox, on all three computers here in the Beijing HQ -- one ThinkPad, two Macs. (I am composing this post via Chrome, on a MacMini.) Chrome is Windows-only but runs fine, like all other Windows programs I've tried, under VMware Fusion on the Macs. It is a very interesting program with some immediate advantages over Firefox. Most obvious one: when you have a lot of web pages open, a freeze in one page or "tab" is unlikely to make all open pages freeze, as can happen in Firefox.
My point, to clarify for those who
can't read benefit from repetition, is an "enthusiasts versus civilians" distinction. If you are a computer enthusiast, of course you're going to find this fascinating and worthwhile. If you're a civilian user -- not interested in the process, just in getting the results -- I say, there are enough transition difficulties that you should wait a while. Wait, for instance, until Chrome can easily handle RSS feeds, or has extensions like Firefox, or runs in native-Mac version, or has improved bookmark handling.
Now, the promised smackdown. Recently I posted comments from one tech veteran, Ken Broomfield, about what Chrome's emergence says about the "early days" of web programming, ie the mid-1990s. In included the argument that if the Java programming language had developed the way it could and should have, a lot of latter-day workarounds would not be necessary.
After the jump, the Other Side of the Story, from another tech veteran who doesn't want to be named. This is an one time only "fairness doctrine" airing of a contrary view. I lack the expertise to referee future rounds of argument, and there are other places where nerds can hash it out. But since Fox News is not the only institution that believes in fair and balanced coverage, I post this response below.
* Apologies to anyone who took offense! A splenetic little joke, based on too much email from people who, in my view, were not trying hard enough to understand previous posts.
My correspondent writes:
... I am a nerd. As such, I'm afraid I have to dispute a bit of what your friend Ken Broomfield, the founder of iRider (which I've downloaded and am evaluating now), wrote to you about the early days of web application development.
From a developer's perspective, Java was far too complicated and the performance of the Java Virtual Machine far too poor to be useful for web applications in the early days of the internet.
Web application development has evolved along with PC hardware and available consumer bandwidth. YouTube was not possible 10 years ago; it is now thanks to Flash, faster machines and the fact that a great many people have broadband internet connections. Flash, not Java. Java is still far too complex, and Java developers far too expensive, for client-side web development. Java is, more often than not, not the right tool for client-side web application development. It is a "superior" technology in the same way that a jackhammer is superior to an ordinary hammer for driving a nail into a wall.
Java failed as a client-side web application technology for good reasons and web applications are evolving at a reasonable and steady rate. Like many nerds, I am excited by the possibilities presented by the current crop of web (and mobile; the line is getting blurry) technologies and am thankful that I don't have to spend my days coding in Java.
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