Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 8th Sep 2008 20:55 UTC, submitted by Punktyras
Google With all the recent hype surrounding Google's Chrome, it's refreshing to see someone taking a few steps back and looking at the bigger picture. Superlatives were abound about Chrome (I personally really like it), but some people really took it overboard - take TechCrunch for instance: "Chrome is nothing less than a full on desktop operating system that will compete head on with Windows." Seeing my nationality, I know a tulip mania when I see one. So does Ted Dziuba.
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A: He's wrong, B: He's right
by Moonbuzz on Tue 9th Sep 2008 11:50 UTC
Moonbuzz
Member since:
2005-07-09

It's one of those cases where the writer managed to miss the target by a mile, and somehow hit it.

First, his A => B => GREEN diagrams explain nothing. There isn't exactly any actual correlation between the move from C to Java, to a WebApp. First, Chrome's HTML renderer and Javascript engine are using the browser as a VM, theoretically putting a chrome-based webapp on the same level as the Java/Perl example.
Second, and this is plain obvious, using a Windows emulated environment as a reason for "Chrome is not a browser" is counter intuitive, and misleading, since, on Windows, Chrome runs "natively". He could've tried running it in an emulated environment running on Cygwin, and claim this meant something.

However, he is right on one point. A browser is not an OS anymore than a webapp has anything to do with computer software, running natively, emulated or on a VM, and that has to do with one major element, which is the actual Internet.

The Internet runs on a series of protocols that, apart from other similarities, share one specific idea, which is that communication is based on a simple idea: You send a request, you get a reply, end of communication. You can split your "application" to many small parts and have each of them send requests and process replies simultaneously and asynchronously, but it's still the same request-reply process. There isn't anything there that can even come close to emulate or imitate a non-web application's richness of abilities and transactions. The way information flows between the front and back ends of a non-web app leaves the web-based apps way behind.

Apart from that, there's the question of what a web-app is built with. While back-end technologies have become amazingly rich and powerful, the browser, at its essence, understands two things: HTML and Javascript. Whatever you cook on your server have to ultimately be translated to those two components. While plug-in techniques (Flash, AIR, Silverlight), have improved massively in recent years, those have no need for the browser as a platform, and definitely don't have anything to do with the Web-as-an-OS vision that some people hold.

On top of that, the idea that browsers, for security reasons, have little to no actual access to system resources, can't change or create system elements and can only use whatever freedom the browser allows them, makes the dream of the "WebOS" remains a dream, and not a very imaginative one.

UPDATE: If you really want some cool picture, this page might do the trick: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/07/web20_for_developers/page2....

Edited 2008-09-09 12:03 UTC

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