Could Ajax lead to a revival of Java in the browser?
When Java was first released in 1995 a lot of early interest centered on Applet based eye candy. Now, ten years later, Applet based development is uncommon.
What happened? Applet development became non-viable for many projects largely because of JVM problems. The Microsoft JVM was frozen in time at Java version 1.1.8. The native Netscape 4.x JVM was slow and buggy. The Apple MRJ on Mac OS 9 was missing Swing and LiveConnect. As a consequence it was difficult or impossible to create a consistent UI across browsers and to take advantage of Java 2 advancements.
Some things have improved. Sun’s Java Plug-in provides a consistent and current JVM for browsers. Apple’s Safari 1.2 supports LiveConnect.
There are barriers. The Java Plug-in is a plug-in. Some developers, understandably, will avoid plug-in dependent technologies on principle.
But I think it’s interesting to consider the advantages of implementing an Ajax engine as a headless Applet.
(I have more to say on this subject but unfortunately it will have to wait until another day.)