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Ajax, part 2

Posted by davidrupp on May 23, 2005 at 7:32 AM PDT

I think it's time we made the painful admission that Sun is no longer the 800-pound gorilla of the Java world. It's not even a gorilla. It's a 90-pound chimp, dancing around just beyond the reach of the 800-pound gorilla, waiting for it to drop the Java bone and hoping there's still some meat left on it when it does.

So who is the reigning 800-pound gorilla? Let's look at some of the candidates.

Microsoft? Bwah hah hah hah hah. Hah. Microsoft is another 90-pound chimp -- the one that's off in the corner by itself, playing with its .NET. Oh, sure, it's only natural, and you can let your kids watch if you want to, but you're going to have some explaining to do. Probably better to ease them down the path to Reptile World.

Who else is there, you ask? IBM? Not a bad choice. IBM was at one time on its way to being the 800-PG, but it's stalled out at about 500 pounds. Big enough to block out the sun? Yes. (BTW, anyone still think the name "Eclipse" is a coincidence?) But there's something even bigger that's eating its lunch. What might that something be?


Google can (apparently) do no wrong. Google has the Midas Touch. Google's got legs, and it knows how to use them. Google can take a nothing date and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. [Author's editor's-note-style note: Yes, I'm aware that my metaphors are now totally out of control. I'll switch to decaf as soon as I'm done.]

The frustrating thing is this -- it's what Google is doing without Java that's holding Java back. And it's not just Ajax. I'll bet if Google started implementing web apps in Fortran, people would stand around, nodding and stroking their chins sagaciously and saying, "Hmm. Yes. Fortran. Brilliant."

So now that Ajax is on the Google Map, what's going to happen to Java?

I think in the end Java will be just fine. I think Java will be like those kids at the end of "Revenge of the Nerds". Sure it'll have a swirlie, and it'll be nursing those noogie-bruises for a while, but it'll still have stolen the quarterback's girlfriend. It'll still have wowed us with its enterprise-class concert at the talent show. And, most importantly, it'll still have launched the rich and diverse movie careers of Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, and That Guy Who Played Booger And Fifteen Other Characters Exactly Like Booger. If those guys can survive, so can Java.

I think our Java's gonna make it after all.