[aida] [Pharo-project] A trend and an unfair comparison about js everywhere

Janko Mivšek janko.mivsek at eranova.si
Tue Oct 16 11:29:26 CEST 2012

Hi Dimitris,

I wont judge the success of the web approach just by few failed
attempts, (and by Facebook :). Web technologies certainly have a
potential to replace GUI ones on the desktop and became an universal UI
technology. Universal in the sense that it run everywhere, on all
platforms, you don't need to care about native look&feel, no need to
program for Android, then for iOS, then for Win mobile, etc. Universal
also in sense that it covers 99% of apps, while for remaining 1% we will
still develop in native environments.

And this replacing is actually happening with faster and faster speed.
Even Microsoft finally gave up and announce to support web trio (HTML5,
CSS, JS) in Windows 8. Two years ago they even announced that web trio
will remain their only technology for the client.

We are yet at the beginning of that process, web app development is
still in its infancy comparing to GUI ones. Adequate dev.tools are
lacking. And there are always a risk that some technology goes the wrong
way, as went for instance SOA (Service Oriented Arcitecture), XML also,
Java, etc. HTML5 is currently such a fast growing thing that it can goes
the same path and end up just too complex to use. As in case of SOA or XML.

But on the other hand web browser vendors are incredible cooperative
this time, they usually don't just agree on some bad and complex
compromise (as it was case on SOA and XML) but are successful to find
the best and specially, the simplest API at the end. This gives us a big
hope that HTML5 will have a long future and to actually become an
universal UI. Well, JavaScript, here the story is more complex...

Best regards

Dne 16. 10. 2012 09:55, piše dimitris chloupis:
> Frankly , I don't find web development that much useful and certainly
> don't believe that web is the future. My money is on the desktop.
> The very fact that the most popular web app, by far nowdays is facebook
> and the very fact that if you took facebook out today people would lose
> nothing in practicality tells so much about what web is all about. Web
> is not all bad of course, its still without any doubt the library of
> Alexandria but most of it , its just pointless way of killing your free
> time.
> The trend is to push web to the desktop and I think that has been proven
> a very bad idea. Web technology is based on some very bad design
> decisions and it makes me laugh when technologies like node.js take the
> web world by storm when desktop has similar technologies for far too long.
> If you looks carefully you will also see that Desktop is more and more
> pushing to the web, so for me it looks like web development is not going
> to have much of a chance. Many existing programming languages are
> already compiling to js, but even in that case why even bother ? IT
> makes sense for mobile devices , but what will happen if for example
> pharo and squeak start making ports for those mobile devices . Why
> bother with JS at all ?
> I try to make a visual coding project and I did consider amber and some
> js libraries and to my surprise the only dynamic graphic library I found
> of some serious usefulness was processing.js and its just too slow for
> what I want to achieve. And if you think about all those so called web
> technologies are really sandboxed , limited and slow desktop technologies.
> I still find the fact that a browser can run anywhere extremely tempting
> but in the end I dont think its really worth it. And yes I disagree with
> the video of trying to say that web is like electricity. When
> electricity came out there was nothing like it, with the web its very
> diffirent because not only desktop can do many of the things that web
> can , all web technologies are practically desktop technologies. Also
> even if you take a look at how much Desktop has progressed 10 years and
> how much the web , even though the web is super hyped those past 10
> years you will get a very clear picture of how things really are.
> I dont think squeak or pharo should turn their backs to the web
> technologies , js and all others (and I love the fact that projects like
> amber do exist) but I would prefer if more effort is spent on making
> sure that they work on all platforms equally good.
> From where I am standing there is no competitiveness in usefulness when
> it comes to JS and web technology there is just competitiveness in
> popularity and hype. And I would rather prefer if pharo and squeak dont
> play that game and continue being actually useful , innovative , easy to
> use , technologies. Web is certainly tempting but in the end its an
> empty promise.   
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* "sebastian na flowingconcept.com" <sebastian na flowingconcept.com>
> *To:* Pharo-project na lists.gforge.inria.fr
> *Sent:* Monday, 15 October 2012, 23:02
> *Subject:* [Pharo-project] A trend and an unfair comparison about js
> everywhere
> Hi guys,
> all comparisons are unfair I know but this is only to make you guy aware
> of this (please ignore if you're already).
> Here is the thing:
> The Jeff Bezos' Electricity Metaphor:
> http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_bezos_on_the_next_web_innovation.html
> Makes (probably) any smalltalker remember the Alan Kay's talk about
> having in the internet an IP for every object and spectacular computer
> science ideas like that.
> The js everywhere trend makes a lot of sense. Once it achieves critical
> mass it might tempt intel and friends to do some hardware accelerator
> for js VM's. Who knows. We have a long way to go but, in the meantime,
> all js staked frameworks make a lot of sense and WILL get traction
> because of that. Example:
> http://www.wakanda.org/
> A talk here:
> https://vimeo.com/31603156
> So.. the unfair question here would be:
> What we'll have to match that competitiveness?
> sebastian
> o/
> PS: Pharo + WebSockets + Amber sounds in that line doesn't?

Janko Mivšek
Smalltalk Web Application Server

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