Somebody correct me if I’m wrong…


but there has never been a successful Java implementation of a commercial-grade web browser. (right?)

There exist lots of huge applications including IDEs, and editors of all sorts, but nobody’s been able to nail the whole XHTML+CSS+JavaScript thing in Java. (right?)

Take it a step further–no need to pick on Java–nobody has done this in any VM-based language (right)?

Coincidence or sign of greater forces in the universe? Feel free to post counter-examples in the comments.-m

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8 Replies to “Somebody correct me if I’m wrong…”

  1. I was rather hoping to see your comments full of counter-examples. Sigh. A few years ago I wasted many, many hours trying to get the Swing “browser” to do anything remotely like reasonable rendering. Last time I looked around, there were a few 3rd party libs (many seemed commercial) but still none with broad coverage of the specs. Sign of greater forces in the universe? Maybe – no matter how hot, the Sun is still essentially a lump of rock.

  2. No, there are no real HTML browsers, which makes it hard to do decent (X)HTML rendering/editing inside a Java app of any sort.

    There is good SVG support, there is Javascript. I think possibly someone could do XHTML+CSS+JavaScript+SVG, rather than try and nail the whole backwards-compatibility nightmare that is HTML.

  3. Sun deliberately didn’t maintain the browser that comes in Java (which has excellent SGML roots): maybe they didn’t want to compete with IE or dissapate Mozilla, naybe they were concentrating on the server side, maybe they didn’t see a business reason. They blew it big time. It was some kind of business decision, in effect, not a technical one.

    There are a few commercial implementations of browsers from other companies.

    Sun’s effort is now in the Flying Saucer XHTML browser component, with better CSS support. Makign a general purpose HTML browser would be a matter of preceding Flying Saucer with Tidy and/or Tag Soup, I guess.

  4. I’m not sure it says anything about java or other languages. Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re aren’t many full html components at all (i.e. ones with javascript, dom, css). Indeed, I might as well list them: Opera, Mozilla, IE, KHTML (and derivatives). And they’re all over five years old. (Since OmniWeb moved to WebCore we’ve lost one, and is iCab still going?)

    So it could simply be that developers have better things to do than write new browsers, regardless of language. KHTML/WebCore seems to be a common starting point now.

    As a postscript there is one very popular browser is written in java: Opera Mini, but most of the work is done elsewhere.

  5. I was going to bring up SVG as well. The Batik toolkit (and Squiggle Browser) handles SVG+CSS+JavaScript and is the most compliant such tool in the wild. I would venture to say that with their 1.2 support they will have something far more complicated than XHTML… they could easily add support for it.

  6. Although it is billed as a “development browser” there is always IceBrowser( I had to do a project with it about 1 1/2 years ago. While it is not up to the level of the big names, I was still impressed by how much it did do at the time. I’m not sure how much it’s progressed since then. (We we’re delivering some dhtml (not ajax) style training to point-of-sale devices that were IBM AS400 machines and had Java on them)

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