Thursday, August 21, 2008

Harmony is not an API

I'm noticing a certain trend of ranting triggered by the recent news about the Harmony effort. Quite frankly, I don't understand what's so bad about standardizing the language or how it's being done.

A lot of people seem to confuse languages with APIs, and draw wild comparisons with things like OpenGL and Silverlight. Yes, the HTML5 effort as it pertains to standardization of next generation browser functionality (e.g. video, threads, etc) is rather sluggish, but it has nothing to do with the Javascript language spec. We can call "" or "new Thread()" in javascript today and really, it's up to the programmer to decide how that gets implemented under the hood. Whether Flash or ActiveX are not "open-web-friendly" really doesn't matter; we can create crazy hacks or make great services either way.

As far as "pushing the limits of the language" goes, again, it goes back to APIs, and to infrastructure. We can't blame the javascript specs if your Comet doesn't work realiably over HTTP in all browsers or if you need to use brittle vendor-specific extensions to get storage to work on the client side.

I think it's great that people are questioning the capabilities of the APIs available in javascript, and you're free to go try other technologies. I'll be here when you come back wanting to share all your new discoveries.

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