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From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sat, 13 Jun 2009 21:53:35 +0200
Message-ID: <4A3403BF.8060202@danbri.org>
To: public-widgets-pag@w3.org

Per http://www.w3.org/2009/03/widgets-pag/cfpa.html#call

"The PAG seeks information about software update systems available 
before June 1995 that offer a viable solution that may apply to the use 
of updates in Widgets"

Not sure this is directly what you're looking for, but I suggest an 
investigation of the original HotJava Web browser, part of the early 
Java work.

In 1994, a team of Java developers started writing WebRunner, which was 
a clone of the internet browser Mosaic. It was based on the Java 
programming language. The name WebRunner was a tribute to the Blade 
Runner movie.
Flyer advertising WebRunner.

WebRunner's first public demonstration was given by John Gage and James 
Gosling at the Technology Entertainment Design Conference in Monterey, 
California in 1995. Renamed HotJava, it was officially announced in May 
the same year at the SunWorld conference.

See also http://java.sun.com/features/1998/05/birthday.html

I don't have a formal reference, but there are some old papers online 
from ~1995...

In addition, HotJava provides a way for users to access these 
applications in a new way. Software transparently migrates across the 
network. There is no such thing as "installing" software. It just comes 
when you need it (after, perhaps, you pay for it). Content developers 
for the World Wide Web don't have to worry about whether or not some 
special piece of software is installed in a user's system; it just gets 
there automatically. This transparent acquisition of applications frees 
developers from the boundaries of the fixed media types like images and 
text and lets them do whatever they'd like.

HotJava has these dynamic capabilities because it is written in a new 
language called Java(tm). Briefly, one can think of Java as a 
simplified, safe, and portable version of C++. It has an 
architecture-neutral distribution format, meaning that compiled Java 
code runs on any CPU architecture. See The Java Language: A White Paper 
for more information.

Similar text in 
from The Java(tm) Language Environment: A White Paper,
Written by James Gosling & Henry McGilton

  9.1.2 The HotJava Browser--A New Concept in Web Browsers
HotJava solves the monolithic approach and moves the focus of 
interactivity away from the Web server and onto the Web client--that is, 
to the computer on which the user is browsing the Web. Because of its 
basis in the Java system, a HotJava client can dynamically download 
segments of code that are executed right there on the client machine. 
Such Java-based "applets" (mini-applications) can provide full 
animation, play sound, and generally interact with the user in real time.

HotJava removes the static limitations of the Mosaic generation of Web 
browsers with its ability to add arbitrary behavior to the browser. 
Using HotJava, you can add applications that range from interactive 
science experiments in educational material, to games and specialized 
shopping applications. You can implement interactive advertising, 
customized newspapers, and a host of application areas that haven't even 
been thought of yet. The capabilities of a Web browser whose behavior 
can be dynamically updated are open-ended.

Furthermore, HotJava provides the means for users to access these 
applications in a new way. Software migrates transparently across the 
network as it's needed. You don't have to "install" software--it comes 
across the network as you need it--perhaps after asking you to pay for 
it. Content developers for the World-Wide Web don't have to worry about 
whether or not some special piece of software is installed in a user's 
system--it just gets there automatically. This transparent acquiring of 
applications frees content developers from the boundaries of the fixed 
media types such as images and text and lets them do whatever they'd like.

There's a version of this on sun.com but dated 1996, 
see also 

I think the Hotjava browser quietly died after a Sun / Netscape deal, 
but it might have some interesting characteristics (dynamic loading of 
functionality) w.r.t. the widgets issue. While it's Java-specific, 
efforts like http://processingjs.org/ show that basic Java-like script 
can be executed by modern .js engines.

Hope this helps. I always like HotJava anyway...


Received on Saturday, 13 June 2009 19:54:16 UTC

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