Originally posted in my old blog at My Opera
Sun Labs recently introduced Lively Kernel, which is an attempt to treat web applications in a similar way as desktop applications are programming-wise.
The Lively Kernel places a special emphasis on treating web applications as real applications, as opposed to the document-oriented nature of most web applications today. In general, we want to put programming into web development, as opposed to the current weaving of HTML, XML and CSS documents that is also sometimes referred to as programming.
Says it the best. Despite sounding interesting, this may all be a big waste of time.
Let's first look at the features of Lively Kernel a bit.
You can have various kinds of graphical elements that you can move, rotate, morph etc. even on the fly. One thing I particularily liked was the subworlds – they act like separate desktops, providing space for more objects. If you wanted to take an object from a subworld to an another, you could simply drag it to the portal thingy.
All this works surprisingly well: The drag dropping is not glitchy like it sometimes can be, and selecting text works properly and depending on where you click, like in Photoshop for example, you can drag the text or select it.
If you've ever used Writely or Google Docs, you might've noticed similar things. It isn't exactly fast or as good as, say, MS Word or OpenOffice.org Write. It seems that for now the only real platform for something as rich and interactive as this is Flash and perhaps Silverlight when it matures. Try comparing Google Docs to Buzzword which is Flash and Flex based – it's much better.
One could even say that AJAX, DHTML and whatnot have been around for 7+ years already and google decided to get out the defibrillator and revive it from the dead, only for it to gain popularity for a while and then fade again…