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The Future of Google Chrome

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the didn't-safari-just-poach-their-best-features dept.

Google 294

TRNick writes "Lars Bak, who heads up development of Google Chrome's cornerstone javascript engine, talks about why Google is so focused on in-browser javascript performance, the role Chrome has played in driving up javascript performance in other browsers, and why it's taking so long to introduce support for third-party extensions. 'The web is becoming an integral part of the computer and the basic distinction between the OS and the browser doesn't matter very much any more,' he says."

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294 comments

I know the future... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997019)

Being uninstalled?

Re:I know the future... (0, Troll)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997069)

I can't even uninstall it, since it's Windows only (AFAIK).

Re:I know the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997155)

Then how did you install it in the first place?

Re:I know the future... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997167)

Then how did you install it in the first place?

Very carefully. . .

Re:I know the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997533)

Works in wine afaik

Re:I know the future... (4, Insightful)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997715)

Being uninstalled?

Until they get support for Firefox addons or get a base of addons equal to Firefox's, it won't be going on my computer anymore. ;*( I used it for about two weeks after its release, and then switched back to Firefox and never looked back.

Re:I know the future... (3, Insightful)

cyclocommuter (762131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998021)

More specifically for me, until Chrome incorporates addons/extensions equivalent to NoScript, Adblock, and Flashblock I won't be using it except perhaps when I need to do a quick check of my Google Calendar appointments.

Re:I know the future... (1, Insightful)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998035)

Now everyone stop complaining about Chrome having no extension! If Chrome is really that good for everything else except has no add-ons, and if you really so sick of getting that noscript/adblock add-on, why not develop one yourself and contribute back to the project?

Am I missing something? The source code of Chromium is available freely under BSD right? I thought open source is all about the freedom to take any source code and modify until it suites you?

Re:I know the future... (1)

Demiansmark (927787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998241)

I used to think the same way but I think I use way too many extensions most completely for productivity and work purposes and have found the resulting performance of Firefox lacking. I've even found myself opening up IE to watch BSG or Hulu because there's an annoying skip in FF likely caused by some extension. I'm not so sure that it wouldn't make sense for me to use a browsing browser (chrome) and a production browser (FF + extensions).

Of course I'm sure my situation is not really widespread among the larger internet using population and there are a number of extensions I use heavily that I'd want in my 'browsing browser' (foxmarts, twitterfox, etc). But just making the point that extensions come with a performance price and maybe there's room to actively use more than one browser.

As we've seen. (4, Insightful)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997063)

As we've seen with Windows and IE.... the distinction between browser and and OS matters quite a bit. That is if you don't want to get accused of being and evil monopoly.

Re:As we've seen. (4, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997251)

It was truly an odd thing for Google to say just days after they joined [theregister.co.uk] the EU antitrust case against MS over the this very distinction.

Re:As we've seen. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997429)

There are fairly clearly two different senses of "distinction" at work here.

The lawsuit concerns the question of whether or not a web browser is structurally distinct from the OS or not: is it an integral component, or an instance of bundling of two essentially unrelated things.

This interview concerns the developer's observation that people's use of the browser doesn't draw much of a distinction between the browser and the OS(in that they consider the computer broken if web access isn't working, and in that they consider webapps to be on par with native apps).

It is also quite possible that, shockingly, an individual developer, speaking semiformally about his project, has a slightly different view than does Google's legal department, speaking on behalf of Google's official position.

Re:As we've seen. (2, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997661)

This "the browser is the OS" rubbish is really starting to annoy me. It's just not the case.

in that they consider the computer broken if web access isn't working, and in that they consider webapps to be on par with native apps

This really doesn't signal a change in paradigm in computing. Rather, it signals that many users who don't understand the distinction between local and remote applications have become the majority, and those who understand the distinction are now the minority. Buzzwords like "cloud computing" and "online OS" don't change the fact that this is not a paradigm shift so much as a widespread misperception.

The so-called "browser is the OS" paradigm is simply a use case where the majority of a user's tasks are performed in a browser. Cloud computing really just describes people who use a PC for Facebook more than they use the PC for productive work with a word processor.

I know what you're thinking. Yes, you, thinking "it's just a matter of time until word processors get implemented in JavaScript". Please, I beg you, go and get a vasectomy. For the sake of mankind.

Re:As we've seen. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997837)

It is just a matter of time.

Granted, a very long time - you might be able to get away with in around five years or so, assuming you don't care about IE (which might have just caught up with where every other browser is right now). JavaScript runtimes are getting faster, as are CPUs, and browsers are becoming more and more capable.

Word hasn't substantially changed since Word 97, which was 12 years ago now. It's not like the word processors of 10 years from now will have some amazing new feature that won't be possible to replicate in a web browser 10 years from now.

Whether you'd actually want to do this or not is another matter entirely.

Muddy-soft waters... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997847)

...The lawsuit concerns the question of whether or not a web browser is structurally distinct from the OS or not: is it an integral component, or an instance of bundling of two essentially unrelated things.

Ah, to clarify, it was Microsoft who managed to muddy the waters first between browser and OS with their implementation, with every damn window on the screen essentially being a IE browser. I certainly don't get the same when I install Firefox on top of any other OS.

Re:Muddy-soft waters... (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998041)

ahh yes, those were glorious times.
I enjoyed that integration actually. Maybe the overhead wasn't worth it, but I thought it was convenient and pretty cool.

Flame me if you must.

Re:As we've seen. (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998043)

in that they consider the computer broken if web access isn't working

I suspect that will be MS's essential defense of bundling a default brower (IE) with Windows. People EXPECT any modern OS to come with a default browser. Most of them don't even realize the browser is a distinct program from the OS itself. The argument against MS not bundling a browser with their OS is a relic from the 90's. These days it would be suicide for anyone to release an OS without built-in web capability right out of the box.

Re:As we've seen. (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998285)

These days it would be suicide for anyone to release an OS without built-in web capability right out of the box.

...I'm looking at you, Gentoo!

Re:As we've seen. (1)

kkamrani (882365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997567)

Agreed, there is a clear distinction and it matters between OS and Broswer. I don't get why this guy would say otherwise, since Google Chrome isn't neither Mac nor Linux ready.

Re:As we've seen. (1)

cunamara (937584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997971)

I agree. When considering the statement "The web is becoming an integral part of the computer and the basic distinction between the OS and the browser doesn't matter very much any more," one has to consider the bias of the source. My laptop spends the majority of its time not connected to the internets and that time is its most important use as a tool- I make my living in part with my computer offline. The OS matters much more to me than the browser- I can use Safari, Camino, Firefox, etc. with equal outcomes (Google hasn't yet released Chrome for OS X). The browser is just an application. Google is positioning the browser as middleware- more than a browser, less than an OS.

annoyed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997079)

Am I the only one annoyed by "Google are..."

Re:annoyed (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997159)

Am I the only one annoyed by "Google are..."

That is UK-English, it seems TechRadar is a British site. I agree, it sounds really strange and illogical if you are used to US-English.

Re:annoyed (4, Funny)

daybot (911557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997295)

it sounds really strange and illogical if you are used to US-English

Yeah, the normal and logical may seem that way if you're used to something so strange and illogical as US English - putting 'z' in almost every word, and I mean, MM/DD/YYYY? come on!

Just kidding... we love how you've butchere^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hembraced our language :)

Re:annoyed (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997359)

And I'm sure that the germans love how you've butchered theirs!

Re:annoyed (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997417)

I'd argue it's stupid since you're referring to a single entity in a plural sense, which is grammatically incorrect. And no, the excuse that it refers to a collection of people is stupid. You don't say "The set of integers are infinite", do you?

Re:annoyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997703)

No, but you do say "His pants/trousers are blue", normally referring to a single entity.

Re:annoyed (5, Funny)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997853)

incidentally, you may be unaware of the distinction made in the UK between pants and trousers, i.e. that pants are what one wears under trousers.

Re:annoyed (5, Funny)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998251)

This is why Superman dresses as he does. He landed in America, and was told to wear his pants on the outside.

Re:annoyed (3, Funny)

coopaq (601975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998343)

"incidentally, you may be unaware of the distinction made in the UK between pants and trousers, i.e. that pants are what one wears under trousers."

So what the hell are under-pants in the UK then? Do they go under your pants?

You guys wear 3 layers of pant?

Do you wear a pair of pants or more? So confusing.

All I know is if you wear pants under your trousers and that's all... well then you aren't wearing underwear and that's nasty.

Re:annoyed (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997873)

No, but you do say "the integers are infinite", similarly, you don't say "the company google are ..." but you do say "google are ..."

Re:annoyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998305)

No. You don't. Singular nouns are singular. You say the integers are infinite because the "the integers" is a plural noun. Google is a singular noun so you say "the company, Google, is..."

You could say "the workers at Google are..." because then you're talking about many instead of one.

Re:annoyed (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997457)

We embraced during the colonial period. After the revolution we extended(and had Noah Webster ram our extensions through a standards body to give them an air of legitimacy).

Don't worry, nothing bad could possibly happen next.

Re:annoyed (2, Interesting)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997511)

and I mean, MM/DD/YYYY? come on!

I like how the Japanese do it: year/month/day.

Re:annoyed (3, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997753)

YES!

YYYY/MM/DD makes so much more sense, as it means that you get sane sorting when ordering using a computer.

DD/MM/YYYY results in a mess of dates, whereas YYYY/MM/DD always orders dates in chronological order.

Re:annoyed (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997885)

Since I correspond with people in Asia, the US, and Europe for work, I've found that the only unambiguous way to express dates is YYYY-MMM-DD or the reverse (e.g. 2009-Feb-02, 02-Feb-2009). Short of going to the long form, of course. I personally like having the day first, since that is often the most relevant piece of data... how did we Americans end up putting the month first, anyway? I bet it's just the short form of our longhand: "February 2, 2009". Do the Brits write "2 February, 2009"? If so, do they say it that way? Americans almost always say the month first.

Re:annoyed (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998047)

Why doesn't everyone just say express numerical dates as 2009-02-26? (I was going to use your dates, but the duplicate 02 didn't illustrate my point).

Re:annoyed (1)

ultrafunkula (547970) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998073)

Yes, I write "2nd February 2009" and say "The second of February two thousand and nine"

Re:annoyed (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998253)

Well, mystery solved! I love it when it is that easy :) I guess the American way is slightly lazier... "February second, two-thousand and nine" is 2 fewer words. Is that lazier or more optimized?

Re:annoyed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997825)

I use that format for log-files and things like that. Easily sortable.

Re:annoyed (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997917)

and I mean, MM/DD/YYYY? come on!

Well, you can hardly blame them for that one. When your average English speaker writes out a date, they'd write it as, for example, "February 26th, 2009"... which just so happens to be MM/DD/YYYY.

Re:annoyed (1)

DSmith1974 (987812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998113)

You do realize that using a 'z' is the correct English usage and always has been? This is one area where our American cousins are actually more correct than we are. The usage of an 's' is commonly referred to as the 'Frenchified' version and is a dilution of the language due to cross-pollination with our Gallic neighbours. The misconception that the Frenchified usage is correct English has arisen since the Government adopted it for their official documents (in the 70s?). I can see the connexion, but read an early print of any of Tolkein's works and tell me how many instances you find. Use zeds.

Re:annoyed (4, Funny)

hahiss (696716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997981)

Right. The US-English would render it:

"Them thar Googles done been fixin' to. . . "

The whole point of Chrome (5, Insightful)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997117)

is that its future per se doesn't matter.

What Google cares about is that there is a least one standards-compliant browser out there with fast javascript. Sure Google might have a slight preference for people using Chrome over another browser with fast javascript (like, say, Safari), but what really matters to them is that they are able to deliver web apps that are fast enough to be reasonable competitors to traditional desktop apps.

Chrome is a combination insurance policy/open-source soapbox whose purpose is to make sure that Google apps (and other web apps) will always have a browser to run on.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (1)

wlt (1367531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997283)

I'd always thought Chrome was the first step in the declaration of war against MS (Android being the next). I mean... a browser with a task manager?

Re:The whole point of Chrome (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997335)

I think it's more important that it's a challenge to the rest of the 'market' to catch up on Javascript performance. I don't think they -really- expect their browser to be the best or even have a decent market share... They just need something to point to and say 'See, it's possible. Why haven't you done it yet?'

Re:The whole point of Chrome (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997785)

If that's all they want then why don't they just re-write the Firefox JS engine and push it upstream? Isn't that what open source is all about? Nope, that explanation doesn't quite make sense to me.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (3, Insightful)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997995)

Maybe 1) re-writing the firefox JS engine is too much work or 2) would be too disruptive to a well-established open-source project, or 3) wouldn't be as supa-cool awesome as starting from scratch (I'm assuming that Chrome began as a %20 time project), or 4) they felt the Firefox dev team would have simply ignored the work done by the Chrome people, or 5) they would have to've reworked the whole browser, and not just the JS engine.

I'm sure I could think of more reasons why the Chrome developers would want to do their own thing rather than submit changes to the Firefox engine, but I hope you get the point. Nothing about the bazaar forces you to join a current project and push updates, or even makes that practise logically necessary. Sometimes it's a good idea, sometimes not.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (5, Interesting)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997389)

It is interesting the while javascript is being more and more heavily used, it is in a way like development tools have been reset 10 years.

Maybe I have been blind, but I have yet to come across a decent IDE for javascript development. All the nice features like code completion and even syntax checking are now no longer a given.

Even some decent syntax checking would be nice. I would like to know how much time is lost now on developers looking for typos in their js code. The only way you discover them is to run the code. And even then, the errors generated are not always helpful.

And debugging is getting more complicated. Stuff like venkman and firebug work for basic standard linked javascript, but the newer libraries use so many shortcuts in declaring objects that no debuggers just can't seem to keep up.

A lot of this is with any script that is weakly typed. So many libraries and scripts take advantage and abuse this.

Now these same libraries are abstracting so much of what is hard browser differences and the like out. So that is good. But with this only really being at the start of being heavily used. I can see some real ugly legacy applications around in five years time.

And this type of scripting is popping up everywhere, I see servers now that have javascript running on the server, and other devices using them for UI.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997755)

There used to be no debugger at all... alert(), anyone?

Re:The whole point of Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998165)

or print() for that matter in other languages

Re:The whole point of Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998053)

Have a look at 280atlas.com

Obj-j IDE built on top of AppKit/Cappuccino.
I'm hoping they'll release a beta fairly soon.. guessing they want the tableview finished first.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998089)

IntelliJ IDEA 8 (which is actually a JAVA IDE so may be overkill for you) has full Javascript support with code completion, syntax checking and even debugging.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (4, Informative)

Artifex33 (932236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998137)

I'd suggest you check out IntelliJ's IDEA 8.0. I've been developing interfaces for the web for ten years now, and I've come across nothing with such comprehensive and accurate support for js coding. Both your complaints about code completion and syntax checking are handled by IDEA accurately.

Some other developers in my group swear by MyEclipse's js handling, but I haven't had any personal experience with it in the past couple of years. My last impression of it was that its color-coding wasn't as detailed as IDEA's. Still, MyEclipse is open-source, so check it out first and see if it takes care of your needs.

For debugging, Firebug is still your best bet, though I believe IE's debugger has been making huge strides lately, and is better than Firebug for automatically handling breakpoints--in Firebug, you have to search through your .js files in order to manually place a breakpoint, and then that can get weird if you have iframes to deal with.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998157)

Try NetBeans, it has javascript autocompletion, support for popular libraries, like jQuery and various other goodies.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998193)

code completion, syntax checking...

http://www.activestate.com/komodo_edit/ is slow to start up, but otherwise great for Javascript.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998215)

Exactly what I think.

Re:The whole point of Chrome (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998243)

Well I thin Chrome is part of Android.
I often wonder if Google is getting too myopic. I am not sure that Browser Apps will ever replace all native apps. Maybe Google doesn't as well but their supporters really do.

How Many People Even Use Chrome? (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997135)

I ask, because I don't know of many. Additionally, it is viewed as "unsafe" for corporate use. My company will not allow us to use Chrome on our computers, but we are allowed to use IE and FireFox with impunity.

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997243)

I occasionally fire it up... in particular I find it very responsive when I know I'm going to be doing a lot of "Web 2.0" type sites... Gmail, Facebook, Google Apps, etc because it is very responsive. Overall, though, I still prefer Firefox because I can then use the same browser on all my computers. Add to that Adblock Plus, NoScript, and the Web Developer plugin and Firefox still has a major advantage.

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (1)

john.wingfield (212570) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997849)

But isn't it nice to have the choice? For a while back in the browser dark ages, on Windows you had a choice of bloated Netscape Communicator and broken Internet Explorer.

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998183)

No argument there... my windows box has 4 browsers currently, and while I mostly use Firefox I do fire up all of them at various times. Since I'm one of those perverse Mac users, I even occasionally use Safari :)

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (1)

dayjn (942897) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997265)

I see quite a few using it where I work (in a university). It's very fast, and stable as mentioned in the interview. I also like the private browsing mode. It especially works well on my old slow laptop. Firefox is too heavy but Chrome runs. I'd like to see a few Firefox extensions made available, but it's a great start.

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997421)

i use it at my company.. screw the overzealous Windows IT guys.

p.s. Having a password change policy of once every 3 months and not being able to use any of the last 24 passwords is dumb fyi. It causes sticky note passwords which is 1000x more insecure.

I do (2, Insightful)

ConanG (699649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997569)

I use it as my main browser. I've got a portable Firefox and (of course) IE, but I only fire them up when something isn't working right in Chrome. This is happening less and less.

Re:How Many People Even Use Chrome? (5, Informative)

jitterman (987991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997963)

Call me ignorant, or rash, or just living on the edge, but I actually use it on a daily basis for *almost everything. I haven't installed FF on this (brand new) machine and don't plan on it simply due to its bloat and slowness - things it didn't have when it was introduced.

Chrome introduced features which IE and FF either have since included as well or are planned for future releases. I am certainly aware that Chrome is quite limited in some areas, but in the end its speed, flexibility, small memory footprint, and physical layout (minimal intrusion into the web page display area) make it my first choice despite its drawbacks. Feel free to correct me where I may be ignorant (seriously, no sarcasm intended).

*Every now and then I find a web app that's just not well coded (mostly due to funky CSS that's poorly formed) that works or at least displays properly in IE but not Chrome. C'est la vie.

Google sees what future web is heading to (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997143)

And its built on JavaScript.
If they they create a framework or engine which internet would be dependent on, they would control the web. The plugins which try to compete against JavaScript will lose their place when its achieve this speed and Google Gears integration.
I think what would happen is Chrome framework being (a restricted) interface to the OS and media control libraries which would try to be what ActiveX,Flash and Java do today(within their plugin interface). Except it would be built-in into Chrome and executed inside the content.

basic distinction between the OS and the browser (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997153)

More "the basic distinction between the shell and the browser". OTOH, when you can run MacOS, Linux, and WinXP simultaneously on not too high end equipment (a 2 year old 24 inch iMac w/3gb ram in my case) then you have to ask just which layer is the "operating system", and which is the shell.

Re:basic distinction between the OS and the browse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998345)

Yes, people tend to use OS as a synonym for the shell (graphical or text) or the packaging environment, where the OS is normally just the kernel and maybe its modules.

<script type="text/python"> (4, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997175)

I would rather have the browser guys work on getting something OTHER than javascript into the browsers. Javascript is getting better, but you only polish a turd so much.

Re: (2, Interesting)

Sir Groane (1226610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997345)

So Javascript is becoming what Java should have been, the run-anywhere language, if only Java hadn't been such a superficially ugly language and goddam slow - the browser is the equivalent of the JRE.

If all JRE's (browsers) are alike in syntax, semantics, security and libraries then the faster one will become the shell of choice to run these cloudy, ajaxy apps. And we'll partying like it's 1980 with browser-and-cloud architectures replacing greenscreen-and-mainframe.

It's a shame that, like you said, javascript is superficially pretty but deeply broken (namespaces? proper, native OO? etc.)

Re: (2, Insightful)

gnud (934243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997409)

I disagree.
The problem with javascript is still browser incompabilities, and that would not lessen with other scriping languages.

I disagree (4, Informative)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998087)

The problem is people still fail to grasp the difference between Javascript and DOM and CSS manipulation....

All Javascript engines have been ECMA compliant for 5 years now. Javascript incomparability is not the problem, it is the DOM and CSS incompatabilities.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998341)

Hey, I hate Javascript like any other, but Python?

Ugh. You ain't serious, are you?

JavaScript assembly language (5, Interesting)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997201)

With compilers like GWT [google.com] , Pyjamas [pyjs.org] , and HotRuby [accelart.jp] , I sometimes wonder if JavaScript is starting to emerge as a "portable assembly language" for dynamic languages, the way C is often used by higher-level language compilers. I mean, when it comes down to it JS is basically just hash tables and closures, some of the basic elements required for dynamic language execution.

Given a fast-as-C javascript engine, you could have a pretty decent VM to share between several dynamic languages, and due to JS's dynamic nature compiling these languages to JS is fairly trivial.

I mentioned this once on reddit and someone called it a 'braindead' approach. That may be true. I'm not sure. He also pointed out that many things you'd have to do to get languages like Ruby running in JS would require passing the context as a function argument, which he claimed would probably bypass any potential optimization by the JS compiler. Not sure about that either.

But I find it really interesting (and cool!) that JS's heavy web presence is giving it such attention in both the "compiler backend" and optimization departments simultaneously. Whether it's a braindead approach or not, it sure seems to be drawing a lot of interest lately.

Re:JavaScript assembly language (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997687)

I don't know, Lua [lua.org] would fit that role a whole lot better. It's semantically similar to Javascript but is much cleaner. Javascript is a disgusting hack of a language with bizarre bit and pieces shoehorned into it over the years.

The fastest Javascript engines will never be as fast as the fastest Lua engines. Javascript is too tied down by cruft. LuaJIT already beats every other Javascript engine out there in all tests except a few and it's not even using tracing yet (the fastest JS engines are using tracing). LuaJIT 2 with tracing is supposed to be out at some point here and that will probably blow the doors off everything else.

Re:JavaScript assembly language (3, Funny)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997951)

Yeah we could have a platform independent language that compiles efficiently into a type of code easily run by virtual machines.

Not sure about the name Javascript though, think it sounds a bit complex and we need to distinguish it from the browser only one. Lets just call it Java

If the browser is the OS... (4, Insightful)

MobyTurbo (537363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997329)

How come it's Windows-only still if the browser is all that matters and the OS isn't, Google?

Re:If the browser is the OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997521)

And how come it can only be compiled as 32-bit code? Do they not expect 64-bit CPUs to catch on?

From http://code.google.com/p/chromium/wiki/LinuxBuild64Bit

chromium is 32-bit only because v8 compiles to x86 native code, this is what makes it so fast.

Re:If the browser is the OS... (2, Insightful)

noob749 (1285846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998045)

because they are taking the time to do it right - that way you will get a well thought out 'OS' instead of a repeat of todays dominant OS. if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.

the internet flourished during the dark age of browsers and we've gone another half decade since then. what's another year between friends? at least we have a promise that it's on its way soon.

besides, with safari, firefox and opera (and even ie??? [ducks]) getting more and more standards compliant and faster JS with each iteration, Google doesn't need to rush. that's the beauty of standards compliance, it turns the browser in to a generic piece of software that is easily interchangeable. That's the future Google are chasing, and it's interesting that Chrome has gone a long way to push that agenda without even releasing a non-Windows version.

Re:If the browser is the OS... (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998267)

because they are taking the time to do it right

...and then to release it as Beta.

Oh the irony..

Re:If the browser is the OS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998125)

because google is a real company, targeting home users. most home users use windows. Also: it's faster to develop for a single platform than to use a shotgun approach.

um.. (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997355)

'The web is becoming an integral part of the computer and the basic distinction between the OS and the browser doesn't matter very much any more'

Wanting it to be so and it being so are two entirely different things.

Noscript - Missing Chrome feature. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997639)

If Google REALLY wants to help people out, they'd provide Chrome with native support for the functions that the noscript plugin gives to Firefox.

Forget Javascript for a moment (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997905)

I'd be much happier with Chrome if they fixed the little things, like rendering checkboxes properly [google.com] (especially when it breaks Gmail, of all things) or getting Flash [tweak3d.net] to stop freezing after a few seconds of video after fast-forwarding (which breaks sites like Youtube)

paraphrasing mr. bak: (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998111)

"resistance is futile, you will be assimilated"

i think slashdot needs to update its icons

the borg bill gates icon is threatening only circa 1996. microsoft of 2009 is on a real decline

meanwhile, the company of all-domination in 2009 is obviously google. we need a remake of the google icon for slashdot to include the borg cube

and the microsoft icon should be remade with just a non-borg bill gates holding a jar of mosquitoes [msn.com]

Google "are"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26998221)

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

Google is a company. "Google" is a single noun, just like "group", "family", "staff", etc.

The staff is ready to work.
My family is going on a picnic.
The group is going to be late.
Google is working on Chrome.

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