The browser war III

Google Chrome, a new open-source browser from Google that builds in parts on Apple's WebKit and in parts on Mozilla Firefox, was announced yesterday and just launched today at 3:02 pm EDT.

GoogleChromeComic Here is an interesting twist: most of the technical details about Chrome cannot be found in blog postings or technical web documentation, but rather in the form of a comic book. Talk about weird! But the comic is actually full of very interesting details - definitely worth reading, especially if you are a web developer.

Btw, the most interesting thing from a developer's perspective is that Chrome is built on a totally new JavaScript virtual machine called V8. According to the Google Blog:

"We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers."

Steven Vaughan-Nichols has an excellent analysis of why V8 is really the big news, and what Google's motivations are for releasing Chrome. Fred Wilson adds some cloud computing perspective to the mix.

I'd be curious to see what kind of XML processing capabilities are included in V8 and what kind of XSLT stylesheet rendering Chrome is capable of (1.0 or 2.0). Unfortunately, so far Google hasn't released any technical details yet.

Needless to say, the blogosphere is buzzing with postings...

And to contrast all the excitement, there are also those who say the Chrome is irrelevant (at least until 2010).

Update: Very interesting review by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal just appeared.

Update: Great article in Wired News just came out.

GMail, Lotus 1-2-3, and why history repeats itself

Joel Spolsky just posted a brilliant article about software optimization, the downfall of established giants (such as Lotus 1-2-3 in the 80s), and why history is prone to repeat itself in front of our very eyes.

Those of us who were around in the software industry in the 80s will become dreamy-eyed as we think back to the "golden age" of computing and nod in agreement. And all you youngsters should read this very carefully, because history can ineeed teach an important lesson here!

I almost agree 100% with Joel, but would point out one additional aspect that he has overlooked: the browser isn't static, and so it's not just about inventing a "NewSDK" with JIT-compiler for JavaScript and better AJAX apps. The new paradigm (i.e. NewSDK) that will sweep away all current Web 2.0 apps could also come from those that provide the browser (e.g. Microsoft), and its predecessor could be under our very nose today in the form of XAML, Silverlight, etc.