What do Java and Jeff Goldblum have in common? It’s not their love of dinosaurs. Rather, it’s that news of their deaths has been wildly exaggerated.
In fact, Java applets remain one of the richest, most versatile platforms available for delivering functionality over the web. An ability which we exploit to its fullest in the delivery of the EditLive! rich text editor, which is unashamedly a Java applet.
As a Java applet, EditLive! is in good company.
The Emergence of Rich Functionality in Browsers
Only now are we starting to see such rich functionality emerge in the HTML5 standards with APIs and standards, including CORS, WebRTC and WebGL. Yet, even as these standards are introduced, uptake has been slow and support is still far from the universal desktop support achieved by Java and Flash.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s through Java applets that Ephox and other software companies are able to deliver the level of functionality and user experience required by the users of today’s web applications.
It’s Still About the User Experience
In the case of our EditLive! rich text editor, it’s through the power and flexibility of Java applets that we’re able to deliver functionality that many of the content creators we speak to don’t want to be without. This includes spell checking as-you-type, social media oEmbed support, clean copy and paste from Microsoft Word (including images), and built-in image editing.
Java is the basis that lets us deliver all of this functionality, and more. Java enables this by providing two fundamental properties:
- Java has a threading model enabling it to do two things or more at once. That’s something which becomes very important when you’re spell checking a document or querying a social media service while the content creator is typing.
- Java has a robust security model that enables file system access and avoids cross site scripting issues. This is essential when working with images, particularly when enabling access to local files, including those placed on the clipboard by Word during a copy and paste, or when cropping or resizing a local image asset. It’s also significant in enabling access to third party services, like those supported by EditLive!’s social media functionality. This enables the EditLive! rich text editor to easily embed content from anywhere on the web based on the author’s request.
So, as a company that’s committed to delivering the best user experience, we know that reports of Java’s death have been wildly exaggerated. Instead, Java applets remain an essential technology for us because it enables us to deliver the functionality that users expect.
After all, using a rich text editor without spell checking just makes peaple people look bod bad … perhaps almost as bad as starring in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Yep, that’s a real Jeff Goldblum movie (the 80s were a wonderful decade!)
What do you think? Is Java really dead?