Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome - The Promise

I'm excited about Google Chrome, the newest browser on the block, even though I haven't used it yet.

How come? Well, I use Linux at home, and Google hasn't seen fit to release a Linux version of Chrome yet...

Still, I am excited.

But do we really need yet another browser? Well yes, I think Chrome is important for at least a couple of reasons.

1. It's high time Netscape's original vision of the browser as an application platform was realised. Our current generation of browsers is architecturally hobbled. Chrome implements the behind-the-scenes improvements required for a browser that has ambitions of being a true application platform. See this tech-friendly explanation of what these improvements are.

2. It's high time Microsoft's browser market share received another blow. For those who think Microsoft has begun to play nice in the web standards space, think again. They're up to their old dirty tricks once more. Anyone whose employer has deployed Sharepoint will know what I mean. There are heaps of Sharepoint features that don't work in Firefox. You're forced to use IE if you have Sharepoint. We learn once again that it's dangerous to give Microsoft control of both ends of the Web. Apache is slipping. And Firefox isn't enough. I hope Chrome provides enough buzz to draw users away from IE.

For all the coolness of Chrome, there are still important features missing. The obvious one for me is E4X support. How can an application platform not have native support for XML manipulation? We live in a SOA world, don't we? We have to deal with business logic in the form of services, right? So what's with the lack of XML support? I certainly hope this is a temporary issue, because I believe the application platform of the future must support SOFEA, and without XML support, it's just not going to cut it.

Of course, these are early days, so the glass is really half-full. Good on ya, Google!


Jim said...

hey Ganesh,

No need for XML processing if you're using javascript and JSON, and that's surely where this platform is heading...


Ganesh Prasad said...


JSON doesn't support the level of rigour that we need around data. Sure, it supports hierarchical data structures compared to pure HTML-over-HTTP which only supports a flat set of name-value pairs, but that's about it. JSON doesn't support strong data types and data constraints like XML does with schema definitions. JavaScript typing is too loose to base contracts on.

I notice there are a number of simplistic approaches available nowadays that are very appealing, such as JSON and Stomp. However, we must remember Einstein's admonition that things must be as simple as possible but no simpler.

That's my opinion anyway :-).


The Simplist said...

Not so sure if this is 'just another browser' from Google vs. their first attempt at a platform for the vast array of content and web properties they have accumulated.

More thoughts here:

Leirith said...

Hi Ganesh,

I'm writing this comment from Chrome and my experience with it so far has been fantastic. It seems to run incredibly fast and the "sandbox" design they've implemented here should hopefully help to prevent memory problems such as what we see in Firefox.

I like the interface too!


Musaad said...

Agree with you 100%. Google Chrome SHOULD get E4X support in the near future. We are sick of settling for JSON because browsers other than FF are holding back on latest standards.