Friday, March 09, 2007

Revival of Java Applets...

I have been planning to write about Java for the last couple of weeks but every time I plan to do it something or the other tends to come up and I am back to square one. I have/had been fascinated by AJAX for quite sometime. Its just been over 2 years since I started using AJAX or remote scripting as it was previously known. I have seen it grow from a fad into many massive frameworks in JavaScript. Though AJAX has its place but I somehow feel Java Applets might make a comeback sooner than you can think.

There are may reasons why Java Applets makes sense today. Many people who have developed in Java previously might think I am crazy thinking that Java can work on the client side. But there are many compelling reasons today which just make sense today than they did some 4-5 years back. Earlier whenever I thought of Java Applets all I could think of was a gray little box which would bring my computer to a grinding halt. I hated Java Applets and would rarely visit back a site with a Java Applet. The problem with Java was of deployment and speed.

For a minute lets just say that speed was not that big a deal but still a major factor in not using Java was the fact that Java deployment was not all that much. Today nearly 95% of all computers have Java installed on them. The speed factor is also no longer a problem as most computers today have 512MB+ ram. On a computer with 256MB+ ram Java applications seem to work at almost the same speed as a native applications and when I say speed I also mean the time taken to open up the application. The other big problem I had with Java was Swing, in the past few years Swing has really matured and almost all the widgets look and feel native. This is once of the biggest factors which I feel which makes Java Applets truly fantastic. If you've every tried to use a treeview or listview widget developed in JavaScript and you compare it with widgets in Java you will be really surprised. The look and feel in flex or JavaScript applications can never ever come close to the native experience. This is one place where Swing based Java Applets really work. Given enough time I think we should see a revival of Java based client side applications soon enough.

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