Chrome is the new black? (Google Chrome that is)

“If JavaScript gets any faster, then developers will question if they should develop in Flash or (Microsoft’s) Silverlight (technologies),” – Marc Andreessen 9/9/08

That quote was talking about Chrome, which, if you’ve been reading any tech journalism as of late, is Google’s new browser (currently Windows-only).   Granted  Andreessen gets props for the Mosaic and Netscape browsers, big props even.   That being said I think he’s way off.

As great as the Chrome JavaScript engine (V8) sounds it’s only part of the puzzle when considering using HTML/JavaScript in place of Flash or Silverlight.  Fast JavaScript?  Great.   What about everything else a Flash or Silverlight application provides like, in the case of both, platform/browser independence, or in the case of Silverlight alone, multiple languages in which to create a program.  With Flash or Silverlight I don’t have to worry about using a JavaScript library that has to take into account all of the weirdness of each of the different browser implementations of JavaScript.  I don’t have to worry about CSS implementation differences between browsers.  And I don’t have to worry about HTML at all.

And while Chrome and the V8 JavaScript engine might be fast the folks at the Mozilla project haven’t exactly been sitting still.   TraceMonkey is also a JIT-ing JavaScript compiler, and in fact in benchmarks TraceMonkey is faster than V8 and is open-source as well (not to mention that the father of JavaScript, Brendan Eich, is working on it).

Listen, don’t get me wrong, I like Chrome.  I think they’ve brought some interesting ideas to the table like the idea of having each tab in the browser operate in it’s own process.  There are a lot of good things about Chrome and it’s good that it’s open source but in the end it’s Google and they’re pursuing this project for their own interests.   If applications only target Chrome (because of V8 and the built-in Gears functionality) where is the win?

At this point I just don’t see why Chrome is a big deal.  Firefox still offers more and they’re not sitting still on the features front.  Flash and Silverlight have nothing to worry about with Chrome right now or the foreseeable future.   I guess Chrome really isn’t the new black.

%d bloggers like this: