What might the Web look like today if Netscape had never had a JavaScript, but instead just went all-in with Java being the only scripting language / runtime environment?

Press F5? That's a recompile.

Gradle running.... please wait.

Java had the earliest of early-mover advantages, it set out to be what Flash became, it tried extremely hard to be what Flash became, and it's a very impressive technical achievement that it managed to completely fail at basically its only goal in a clear field with no competitors in sight and an entire industry supporting and training and giving seminars and cheering it on.

Flash became its own security nightmare, as did Java, but that's a different problem to that of adoption.


My feeling is that there was something just fundamentally baked into the Java *language* model that made it aggressively incompatible with the Web scripting model. Like needing compilation, not being prototype-based, that sort of thing.

Would like to see more postmortems on exactly what went wrong on both the security and adoption fronts, since circa 1996 everyone seemed to think that Java powering the browser was just a forever done deal.

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@natecull i could be wrong, but i don't think java applets ever had good access to the DOM

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