Java versus JavaScript

Java and JavaScript have had a Jekyll and Hyde mixed relationship from their very beginnings. In order to catch some of the ballyhoo of the early emerging Java, Netscape decided to change the name LiveScript to JavaScript even though Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, though influenced by C and C++ and some Java ideas – he had really done his own thing. So to this day, JavaScript is often thought of as the scripting language for Java or as James Goslings scripting tool or other such nonsense.

However, currently on the presentation layer, JavaScript and Java are currently contending for developers allegiance and here is how the battle is shaping up:

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Feature to consider …… |Java Characteristics .. | JavaScript Characteristics ..
Speed fast – 4 to 8 xJS slower – 1/4 to 1/8 Java
IDEs Eclipse,NetBeans Dreamweaver
No.of GUI Components many many
Visual Design GUI Very Good Just okay
Debugging Very Good Good
Database Support Excellent Improving with AJAX
Run Standalone Applets AJAX
Cross OS Platforms Excellent Very Good
Web Frameworks poor with JSP, JSF poor with std JS
Web Frameworks II good: applets+XML good withAJAX
Security Strong options ?????

Now this comparison is ballpark and will be followed up in the regular OpenSourcery with more detailed evidence. But it is i nteresting to note two other major trends. First, AJAX is the hot item in the market right now with Google, Flickr and many others doing nifty SaaS websites and services that Java developers using the JSP and JSF paradigms will be hard pressed to match. But they can by just emitting appropriate AJAX code in their JSP/JSF routines. Pure Java developers who use applets like Droplets and others already can deliver good response time and will have to look at local XML databases for offline temporay files (but compressed and encrypted to secure privacy and critically secure data).

And vendors like MyEclipse, NetBeans and Sun Java Studio Creator (NetBeans based) are already offering enhanced AJAX+JavaScript capabilities in their tools. In fact, the embarrassing fact of life is that Java IDEs are better JavaScript development tools. Both Macromedia Dreaweaver and Adobe GoLive went slow on adding AJAX to their tools so those are now playing a big game of catchup.

However a good trend is that there is already some so-operation among AJAX developers and frameworks with both Java tools and among themselves. But there has been a proliferation of frameworks and AJAX part tools so the failure of Dreamweaver/GoLive to establish a common development framework has hurt. Some would point to Microsoft and Atlas; but we have major problems there.

Editorial Divergence

We are rejecting Microsoft AJAX tools on 4 grounds:

1)Bill Gates “Mea Culpa” fell way short of the mark;
a -When Microsoft brings its IE browser upto date on 1997 promises of HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript stanadrds
b – and when Microsoft releases 4-5 year stalled standards such as SVG, JavaScript E4X, JPEG2000,
c – and most importantly when MS adds a stick to standards switch in all its Web development tools
then we will consider Bills “mea culps sincere and Microsoft Web development tools worthy of some consideration.
2)the current tools use many proprietary techniques both on the client and server side – so that Atlas/AJAX code will not work on Linux, Mac, Solaris and other OS systems. It is the old proprietary trap revisited yet again.
3)MS says that the Atlas/AJAX code works with
4)Microsoft used to say “when numbers warrant we will develop for that platform and applications. LAMP currently has 65% of Web servers even with a 6% dip in January with a crass move to get parked and otherwise unused websites into the Windows fold. Microsoft realy has to open its devlopment beyod Web Service and XML only interoperability.

So our advice to developers is to stay away from MS Atlas/AJAX because the code set is proprietary, will be changing dramatically with the move to Vista and WinFS with disastrous VB-like help for your transition, and it becomes essentially stand alone code. Also ISV developers have to be very careful of Microsoft – Redmond may eat your hard won market share out from under you – a la OS utilities, BI, game, project tools, Business apps and a whole litany of other Windows application vendors.

Summary of this Argument

Developers should watch this play out of Java versus JavaScript. Currently on the Web desktop side AJAX has the advantage. Microsofts continuing delivery of an obsolete JVM helps to insure that only lowest common denominator Java can be used on the desktop in Applets. However, Java has a number of workaronds and overtime that disadvanatge may disappear. Then it will be security, ease of development and speed of runtime operation that will be deciding factors – advanatge Java for now … but wait later this year and see.

(c)JBSurveyer 2006

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