Monday, April 30th, 2007

Sun’s Project Flair: Ajax without the DOM, CSS, HTML, er wait

Category: Editorial

>Sun’s Dan Ingalls has been talking about Project Flair, a new open source programing environment:

“It’s a self-supporting Web programming kernel that’s all written in JavaScript,” Ingalls said when interviewed during the Sun Labs Open House event in Menlo Park, Calif. Small and simple, Flair presents a “great vehicle for experimenting with [what] I guess what you would call, sort of, collaborative object development, that kind of thing,” said Ingalls.

“It’s sort of almost an opposite approach to AJAX,” leveraging a multi-user whiteboard concept for development, he said.

My favourite part:

“AJAX sort of deals with all of the old way of doing things. It makes it simpler, which is great, but underneath it’s still all this junky HTML, Document Object Model, CSS, all that stuff, where 30 years ago, we knew how to do that stuff cleanly with a dynamic programming language and a simple graphics model”

Whatever you feel about HTML, DOM, CSS, and “all that stuff”, a couple of developers know it and work with it. Competing with the open web again? At least the project uses JavaScript and not SomeNewBetterLanguageForYouToLearnFromScratch.

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:00 am
14 Comments

++++-
4 rating from 6 votes

14 Comments »

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Las grandes compañías deberían unir esfuerzos para crear una tecnología estándar, cada vez tenemos mas lenguajes de programación, aplaudo la innovación, pero siento que por tantos esfuerzos divididos no desarrollamos por completo el potencial de los lenguajes existentes.

Comment by Oscar Emilio Antolinez C — April 30, 2007

Lame. The link is to an article in some magazine for suits. Show me the code, and if not that, something that will actually let me evaluate this beyond just what some talking head is willing to print about it.

Comment by Andy — April 30, 2007

quote: “but underneath it’s still all this junky HTML, Document Object Model, CSS, all that stuff, where 30 years ago, we knew how to do that stuff cleanly with a dynamic programming language and a simple graphics model”

junky HTML, DOM, and CSS eh? XHTML Markup and cascading styles are far far far better suited to design than the “simple graphics model” of old… this guy’s a quack. Who in there right mind would trade expressive, declarative, fluid, cascading design for explicit crap. Desktop graphics models should copy the web paradigm, not the other way around. MS actually has it right there, with WPF’s XML approach.

Comment by Ryan Gahl — April 30, 2007

For those of you who are clued into corporate speak, let me break down this blog quota filling post: a guy in SUN LABS (yes, the research part of Sun) is INVESTIGATING something that “could spawn various new product concepts.”

ITS A RESEARCH PROJECT, so go back to your homes and put away your pitchforks.

Dion and the editors, please find something really newsworthy to post.

Comment by k — April 30, 2007

Flair is not a great project name choice when your company name is Sun. http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&q=sun+flair hmmm… is this an astronomy project?

Comment by Joe Larson — April 30, 2007

Dan Ingalls is a researcher, and a distinguished one at that. I think he deserves better from the Ajaxian crowd than this. For more information, google “Dan Ingalls Smalltalk”, or read his Wikipedia bio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Ingalls). Among other things, he invented the bitblt primitive, and managed the Smalltalk-80 project at PARC.

Comment by Jim Grandy — April 30, 2007

if theyre abstracting away XHTML, the DOM, CSS, AJAX, and letting you write an app in a simple manner in Javsascript, all from one place (the server?, the client?) that could be cool…

but i don’t have my hopes up – what do they mean web kernel? boot up into a self-hosting JS kernel, LISP-machine style? im sure this project will devolve from its lofty goals into some GWT-clone in Rhino or something..

Comment by cdr — April 30, 2007

well, he was sort of stirring up a bees nest with those comments passing off virtually all web related technology as ‘junky’…

Comment by carmen — April 30, 2007

2 things. 1) I’m amazed that anybody would defend web technologies such as CSS and HTML in the context of Application Development. They are great for publishing ( which is their lineage ) but are amazingly inefficient and confusing tools for Applications. Literally, using them to build applications is turning their intended use on it’s head. 2) Why is this story a story? It’s barely a vague rumor.

Comment by Vance Dubberly — April 30, 2007

I think this sounds cool; I’d love to know more details though — the article is very light on actually knowing what he is building. I always support revisiting what we assume is true to try a different direction — some times it turns out to be much better than the assumptions we currently carry.

Dan, email me with more details: bkn3@columbia.edu

Best,
Brad Neuberg

Comment by Brad Neuberg — April 30, 2007

Wow, Dan invented some pretty amazing stuff: bitblit is the basic way bits are blitted to the screen fast enough so that we can have graphical user-interfaces, while Smalltalk is the granddaddy of the WIMP UI and OOP coding (that and Simula). I’m sure this kernel will have all sorts of late-binding goodness that lets folks do some crazy stuff — my only question is if the performance of the JS runtimes in current browsers is fast enough to build another abstraction layer, but since Dan has built fast virtual machines before I’m sure he’s thinking about this kinda stuff. He’s gotta respect the basic tenets of open source though: 1) show us the source! and 2) release early and release often. Neither has happened yet….

Best,
Brad Neuberg

Comment by Brad Neuberg — April 30, 2007

“what you would call, sort of, collaborative object development, that kind of thing”

What in the sweet christmas cake does THAT mean? “Sort of collaborative object devlopment?” Sort of..how?

Comment by Maury — May 2, 2007

OK OK, he’s not a quack :-), sorry Dan. What I meant to say is, “…this guy’s using the word junky incorrectly when using it to refer to web design principles in comparison to desktop graphics models for application development, as the web model allows for essentially lookless controls with design an implementation clearly and cleanly separated. For shame”

Comment by Ryan Gahl — May 7, 2007

I’m a Java Swing fanboy and it sounds like I’ll be interested in Flair when it arrives. IMO, GWT has missed it’s mark but having a styling API instead of requiring CSS. Until Flair arrives, the closest this I see to it is Qooxdoo 0.7.x @ http://www.qooxdoo.org/ – code directly in JavaScript – no need for any CSS or HTML.

Comment by Philip Weaver — August 4, 2007

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