There was some discussion in class today about why Java Applets did not take off as much as Sun Microsystems had hoped. While I really do not know the answers, here are my thoughts.
- No broadband. 10 years ago broadband Internet was not as pervasive as it is today. So there wasn't really much need for highly interactive web pages. Imagine trying to download a few megabytes worth of data over a 28.8 kbps modem. Now imagine if every web page out there embedded an animating Java Applet.
- Heavy JVM. Even today, most people don't really like web pages embedded with Java applets. Windows does not really ship with the latest version of the Java Virtual Machine. Our university uses a classroom system called Compass based on Java. Almost nobody likes it. Enough said.
- Browser compatibility. Not every browser in the 1990s supported Java Applets. And most people did not bother installing a new one.
- Java was not a buzzword (yet!). Most consumers did not know or care about Java. And pointy-haired bosses did not know enough to jump on the bandwagon.
- It just looks weird. The UI from the AWT looks weird on the browser. And that makes the entire web site feel clunky.
I am interested in hearing what other people think. Java Applets were something introduced in the wrong time period. Had it been introduced later when it was more mature, it might have appealed to more people. I guess it is a compromise between how early to enter the market and when to wait for maturity of your technology.Tweet
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