December 08, 2010

The First Permanent Language

Writing packaged software should be like writing a book: if you write a classic, then you should be able to collect royalties for decades. This model does not work in software because platforms change too fast. In 1979 Doug Neubauer wrote Star Raiders, one of the best-constructed little space games of all time. If iPhones were Atari 6502-based computers, I have no doubt we would still play Star Raiders today. But they aren't, and so we don't.

The software world needs a permanent language to make it possible for Homer to write the Illiad.

That is what makes me so excited about the new Chrome Web Store. It is the most serious attempt so far at establishing a permanent language in which you can write packaged software.


Despite the "Chrome" branding, there is nothing proprietary or otherwise ephemeral about the Chrome Web App platform. It is just HTML 5, Ecmascript, and zip files.

Win32, tied to Intel's microchips and defended by Microsoft's phalanx of lawyers, is a platform that is destined to vanish when the Microsoft Empire falls. OS X will not survive when Apple is gone. And Ellison is working hard to ensure that Java does not outlast Oracle.

On the other hand, it is not a stretch to assert that, 200 years from now when Netscape is long forgotten and Google is a shadow, computer systems will be still able to render HTML and execute Javascript.

This is the world's first language in which to write permanent software.

(On that note, go check out my first scrawlings: Reversi and Mandelbrot. It just takes a few minutes to package up an HTML app and post it on the store.)

Posted by David at December 8, 2010 09:56 AM
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