The web is more and more becoming the fat client of tomorrow. Not that it offers much more than what we’ve had fifteen years agod, but at least it is finally promising to become the one-platform-for-everything that Java never proved to be.
Nevertheless, web sockets promise to offer a new level of interactivity between browser-side applications and some server backend, because teh technology offers a steady, low-latency communication channel between server and frontend. Think Ajax as it should always have been: whenever the server needs to share information with a client, it simply sends it there, without the need for the client to poll or anything.
So web sockets are a really great opportunity for server-side frameworks like Seaside or AIDA. So if you, like me, thought “Wow, if only I could use wb sockets in my web application!”, I have good news for you: We’ve seen the first announcements for web socket implementations in Smalltalk:
- Zinc Components’ support for web sockets was announced in early september
- The http server Swazoo 2.3 beta 3 now supports web sockets (see the announcement) on Squeak, Pharo and VisualWorks
- The latest version of the AIDA/Web framework also ships with web socket support (on top of Swazoo I guess)
So once again the Smalltalk world is in the middle of the hottest and most exciting web technologies and people can implement cool advanced, highly interactive web applications in Smallzalk, using the most advanced interactive technology to develop and debug code on the server side.
I guess it won’t be long until someone comes up with an implementation of web sockets for GemStone/S or VA Smalltalk…