It's been a pretty busy fall and winter in software tools. In early
December 2007, Google hosted its Google Web Toolkit conference. Probably
not coincidentally that same week, Microsoft took the wraps off its
nascent Volta toolset. Both products allow developers to use their
existing expertise in Java (GWT) or in .NET-supported languages (Volta)
And thus the battle for developers' hearts and minds continues along
the Java vs. .NET front. "Microsoft has saturated the enterprise market
with Visual Studio and the other part of that market is owned by Eclipse,"
says Dave Thomas, founder and chairman of Bedarra Research Labs, a
long-time programming expert. He is taking a look at Volta, which will
probably end up as a Visual Studio add-on. So now Microsoft is striking
out beyond the enterprise into the more consumer-oriented Web
application development now dominated by Adobe/Macromedia toolsets.
The common denominator here for both the Microsoft and Google tools
open-source step, offering up its ActionScript Virtual Machine to
Mozilla.org. The resulting Tamarin Project hopes to bring ActionScript's
flashiness into the Firefox realm. ActionScript is the scripting
language embedded in Adobe's ubiquitous Flash player. Adobe, with
its Macromedia muscle, is still pretty much in the proprietary software
camp but some viewed this as a step forward.