Google I/O keynote, day 1

Just one very quick note:

When Apple released the iPhone, I said that they had changed the game. Not because they had created the coolest, prettiest phone in history, but because had a phone with a real browser that suppported real HTML with real JavaScript. You can write cool apps in Cocoa, sure. But what’s more important is that you can write cool web apps that really, really work; and when you can do that, you have apps that are accessible from any platform, including any phone that also has a real browser. Now you’ve moved a light-year ahead. Cool as native iPhone apps are, it’s still very hard for me to get really excited about applications that only work on one on one particular platform–whether that’s the iPhone, Windows, IE, Firefox, or whatever.

Google clearly gets this; they demo’d it, with apps running in browsers (including iPhone and Android browsers) that you’d never expect to see outside of a full-fledged desktop application. HTML 5 and JavaScript are enabling technologies. I’m still a little wary of GWT, though the idea of JavaScript as the web’s assembly language (my term, not theirs) is appealing. But whether you write your JavaScript by hand or via GWT, being able to embed 2- and 3-d graphics, geolocation, databases, and threading directly into a web application–that’s the end of one ballgame, and the start of a whole new one.

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