, Oct 7, 2007

The Sun Labs Lively Kernel is a novel web programming environment developed by Project Flair at Sun Labs. The main goal of the Lively Kernel is to bring the same kind of simplicity, generality and flexibility to web programming that we have known in desktop programming for thirty years, but without the installation and upgrade hassles than conventional desktop applications have. […] 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.

Sigh. I’m sure there’s lots of room for improvement in Web development — but it might be a good idea to work with the Web as opposed to fight against it.

Interesting note:

At this point, the Lively Kernel runs well only in the Safari 3.0 web browser. With all the other web browsers, you may still experience various bugs and unusual behavior.

On October 7, 2007 11:38 AM, Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Good to know I wasn’t the only one who thought the same thing…

On October 7, 2007 4:02 PM, Patrick Mueller said:

So your definition of “the Web” is HTML and CSS and JavaScript? If you’re not doing HTML, then you’re not doing “the Web”? Someone should talk to those Atom guys, they clearly are not “of the web”.

“Fighting the web”. hmm. I read this as “please, stop innovating”. As if the web we know and love today - HTML and CSS and JS - is the way it should always be, and should never be changed. That’s just scary. Because the HTML and CSS and JS ui programming environment, today, is pretty horrifying. We desperately need some innovation in this space. And guess what, if you compare SilverLight, Flex, and Lively, the only one of these which is at all “open” and based on non-proprietary technologies is … Lively (SVG + JS).

Personally, I think it’s great for Dan and team to bring the 30 years of experience in dynamic language programming and UIs to the web. Will it be useful? Will we be building business apps with it? I doubt it; otherwise we’d all be using Squeak right now. But I suspect we will learn something from it.

On October 7, 2007 8:15 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

Patrick, I never said you need to do HTML to be on the Web. I take issue with view expressed in the intro that the “document-oriented nature of the Web” is a problem and that desktop applications are superior. In my opinion, they’re not, and wanting to (ab)use the Web as a hosting environment for delivery of rich apps is the wrong way to go.

On October 7, 2007 11:47 PM, Patrick Mueller said:

Is Google Maps “document-oriented”?

On October 8, 2007 7:37 PM, Carl Gundel said:

Lively Kernel is definitely interesting and if it has the right network facilities (things like the ability to get http, parse XML, and serve http requests) it could prove to be a very cool personal web programming tool.