Chrome's jittered JavaScript kills Silverlight?

Chrome's jittered JavaScript kills Silverlight?

Summary: The biggest rival for Microsoft's next-generation Silverlight Web technology will be JavaScript, not Adobe's ubiquitous Flash, according to experts speaking at Microsoft's Tech.Ed conference in Sydney this morning.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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The biggest rival for Microsoft's next-generation Silverlight Web technology will be JavaScript, not Adobe's ubiquitous Flash, according to experts speaking at Microsoft's Tech.Ed conference in Sydney this morning.

"I think that the next 18 months we're going to see a 100 to 1,000 fold speed increase in JavaScript as Google and the guys at Mozilla are going to kick us all in the arse and make our JavaScript jittered," Microsoft senior program manager Scott Hanselman told the audience, days after Google released its Chrome browser, which features faster JavaScript technology.

Jonas Follesø, senior consultant at Cap Gemini, agreed, saying JavaScript would continue to get speedier and Chrome, will become "massively" faster than it is.

"Now Google has stepped up and released a browser with jittered JavaScript and JavaVM, making this really, really, really fast," he said.

The consultant said that whenever he thought people had reached a limit about what could be done inside a browser using just JavaScript, some "cool JavaScript writer" came up and showed him how to do more.

"It's going to be hard to tell if it's going to be Silverlight or JavaScript we're going to use for our applications," he said. "I think in the end JavaScript is going to be a bigger competitor to Silverlight than Flash is."

An audience member questioned the panel of experts later on whether he should "be out buying JavaScript books" now the language had been "put on steroids".

Harry Pierson, Microsoft program Manager, answered that he thought "JavaScript is a very odd language for most developers" and that it was more interesting to do higher level development and if necessary compile it down to JavaScript.

Hanselman had a different opinion, saying that although it was a "freaky, weird language", it was possible to do object-oriented programming. "The JavaScript I used and hated in Netscape 4 is not the same JavaScript we have today," he said. "So yeah, I think you should get some JavaScript books."

Follesø said that even if souped up JavaScript became dominant, he thought Silverlight was going to be big, especially in the enterprise when "fun" Web 2.0 applications come to roost. "For the intranet, when the users expect the same kind of user experience it's not that easy to really build that stuff in HTML and JavaScript so Silverlight might be a lot easier alternative," he said.

Topic: Open Source

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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9 comments
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  • It's all about the tools baby.

    Expression and Visual studio have had less than stellar support for silverlight but they have made huge leaps recently. I'm sure microsoft will keep polishing these tools along with better integration with the .net FCL.

    Even with the current tools, I am able to make incredibly nice web-apps with full blown jitted C# under the scenes taking advantage of the new WPF UI framework.

    People seem to conveniently ignore that silverlight delivers .net MSIL colde and then Jitts it making it very very fast. So what I'm seeing now is javascript finally catching up to what I've been doing for awhile now.

    I still haven't seen any javascript framework with the level of integration that the expression suite and visual studio are trying to accomplish. So it will be an uphill battle for javascript fans to get developers outside of the anti-microsoft clan to ignore just how easy and great the MS tooling is for web 2.0 apps.
    anonymous
  • Excellent Tool

    You can't make incredibly nice web-apps with Silverlight 1.x because there is no even one UI controls like that in ExtJS which is JavaScript library, and you can make incredibly nice web-apps with it.
    anonymous
  • That's JIT'd, not 'jittered'

    That's "JIT'd", not "jittered". JIT = "just in time" compilation:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-in-time_compilation

    Ironically, Adobe has contributed a Javascript JIT compilter called Tamarin to Mozilla. It will be integrated into FF 4.0:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamarin_(JIT)
    anonymous
  • incredibly

    incredibly nice sounds very nice.
    anonymous
  • JavaScript vs Silverlight or Flash

    There are lots of tools to do more less the same, could they do a new browser based on Java VM, and use a real standard language, and use all the power to do that things, 2D o even
    3D graphics, etc, and use the Java VM like an OS
    anonymous
  • Java VM-based Browser

    A little slow initially but would become faster with a little work. Do it -- great idea.
    anonymous
  • Wake me up when...

    The combination of Javascript/HTML/CSS actually becomes something serious developers love to use.

    It's a horrible stack, and speeding up CRAP won't make it smell any better.

    Still, it's not Chrome that threatens Silverlight, it's Silverlight that threatens Silverlight(SL).

    Microsoft has grosly underestimated the power of rich text in using the web. Video, audio, and animation are very nice, but text is CRITICAL.

    I honestly can't do decent text driven sites in SL, and will fall back on standard techniques, which may drive us away from SL. Also, SL behaves differently from the way users need to use the web. It may appear minor, but users will not be comfortable with even minor behavorial changes.

    What are those minor things? Right click, tripple clicking in textboxes, and selecting text. There's more, but SL needs to address these issues, but they won't, because they don't see them as issues worth worring about.

    So while fast javascript is nice, it won't stop this train unless the train comes off the tracks all by itself.
    anonymous
  • Soo..

    "I honestly can't do decent text driven sites in SL"

    I think this is saying more about you then about SL. I'm just learning silverlight and making text based sites is just easy.

    The right click support you can just put in yourself, and put in the menu whatever you want.

    They wont? Microsoft is doing an incredible job of listening to the developers, users etc to make better products.
    anonymous
  • it's about how fast we get m

    Javascript still has a long way to go to match VS & SLs RAD abilities (data binding, decent intellisense, linq, reflection & serialization, multithreading, pixel shaders etc etc), and with yet another browser vendor in the arena, it will take even longer before they put these in the javascript standard.

    SL on the other hand adopts new functionality fast, really fast. It makes adobe and sun look like giant turtles, just take a quick look at the SL3 specs (seriously, pixel shaders??!).

    Hate it or love it, MS is bringing their vast armies to the client side front. Few turtles will be left alive.
    anonymous