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Is Web Development Stagnating?

September 12, 2008

There have been two fairly big “non-progress” events recently in the Web development world.  In both situations, a large, well respected company or conglomerate was expected to deliver the “next big thing” for the Web, and in both cases, we’re left with very little to get excited about.

The first incident is with Adobe Flash 10 (Astro).  While there are a few very nice features that Astro brings (more useful text rendering/layout methods, and support for shaders), it was a let down on several fronts.  The 3D capabilities that were teased at through early demo movies turned out to be extremely limited. It quickly became evident that it would be very convoluted to manage some common 3D methods.  Furthermore, the advanced 3D “Pixel Blending” won’t even use the graphics card.  However, at the very least, the new version of Flash will fix some memory handling problems.

To Adobe’s credit, they have been instrumental in leading the charge for Javascript 2.0, which was basically going to be the new version of their Actionscript language.  Brendan Eich (the creator of Javascript and a Mozilla Lead) recently sat on a standards body that was to determine the new language.  Also present were Google and Microsoft.  A recent post by Eich hints at the frustration the standards body met in agreeing upon a standard… presumably because none of the commercial entities wanted to grant the other any sort of advantage (as might be the case between Adobe and Microsoft).

As web developers, it’s disheartening to think that there’s really no new development environment or language on the horizon to look forward to.  As such, I would argue that it’s a good time to give the haXe language a try.  It’s been one of the few bright points I’ve seen lately in the realm of web development.

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