5th October 2006

Posted in

Blog :: Why we need canvas

I thought Java applets were dead.  Now that Acronym Soup (ie HTML/JS/CSS/XML/AJAX/whatever) is more competent there isn't really any need for Applets any more, and where they would be useful for multimedia you can just use Flash (which I suspect has a higher degree if Browser penetration if you stay back a couple of versions).

Looking for Zip code data, however, I stumbled across zipdecode. This is a cool little app - click on the map of the US and start typeing your Zip code slowly. This is a cool applet and does show the technical superiority of either Applets or Flash for certain uses. Obviously this would be one of those rare "appropriate uses" for a Flash app. After all - how do you implement such a thing in HTML and Javascript (absolutely place a DIV for every point? Ugh.) For this sort of problem I'm open to the argument that "plugins" are an acceptable technology despite their drawbacks.

This could be resolved, of course, by using the Canvas API (supported by Safari and Firefox only, IIRC). Likely this would be less performant than either Java or Flash (though this is just a guess on my part) so why in the world would you want to do such a thing? Simply, to me,  technologies like Canvas fit the "View Source" and Open nature of the web better than any binary format browser plugin, even if the plugin is more widely supported...

Posted on October 5th 2006, 03:05 PM