Linked by Kroc Camen on Sat 29th May 2010 20:41 UTC
Apple I've been meaning to write this for some time, and for all the time I delayed the more poignant the point I wanted to make started to become as new news came out further solidifying my angle. When I begun writing this article the iPad had not yet been revealed, iPhone OS 4 was not on the map and Apple had not yet purchased Lala. You've probably just noticed that all of these events in fact point toward Apple embracing the web more and in this article I will point out why this is not the case because I believe Apple's agenda here is similar to something we've already seen in recent history.
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Can you define ‘scale’?

No doubt HTML has been very successful. It was designed as a simple layout/formatting language. If you try to scale HTML to more complex data exchange/data presentation frameworks, things get very awkward. It is just not designed for things like dynamic tables, menus and real-time data exchange. Most dynamic web sites are designed with a whole load of hodgepodge methods: HTML/DHTML, CSS + JavaScript, Flash, Java, ASP/JSP/PHP, etc. Yes you can develop dynamic web pages that resemble something like drop down menus, dynamic lists, etc., but the whole process is messy and clunky.

Vertically, JavaScript has seen a 1000 fold increase in speed in the last two years. It can be run at near-native speeds and improvements are still coming. It’s fast enough to now run a speech synthesizer in JavaScript, or run Quake II. That’s scaling, considering where JS came from only a few years ago. It might not be as fast as native code, but it has survived being pushed well beyond the boundaries it was designed for—that’s scaling.

As impressive as it seems, JavaScript was a hack to add some scripting functionality to static HTML pages, to make them more programmable/dynamic. No matter how much you polish a turd, it'll still be a turd. There is a reason why real operating systems are not written in JavaScript or PHP, or Python. If you have a 128-core server/workstation, tell me how you're going to use JavaScript to develop complex financial/scientific application that needs to access databases, create network connections to remote servers and distribute processing load across 128 parallel threads.

Edited 2010-05-30 13:41 UTC

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