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On the web, when one thing just works, albeit slowly; and another thing requires installation but runs quickly; the thing that just works is likely to win.

Unless java gets upgraded to a first class browser component, JavaScript will tend to win. As a product designer, every step I take my user through loses users. Installing java is a big, scary step that I can almost always avoid.

The insurmountable issue is that it requires users to do installation work.

Well, until about a year ago, Java was on (I'm guessing) 70% of PCs, Flash on > 95%. Now with the shift away from plugins, and the growing importance of mobile, its shrinking quickly.

But! in the brave new world of HTML5 and so on, you still can't assume that everybody has all these features. Either they are stuck on older browsers (at work, or my old laptop that I rarely use), there are subtle implementation differences bewteen browsers (although I have cutting-edge Android devices, the cool demonstrations often don't work nicely in them), or finally the browser is OK, but the computer is too slow.

I only have one computer that can run all this newfangled WebGL stuff at decent speed, and it's my gaming PC at home.

Web gl is a small part of the rich internet applications currently being built. I agree that the web is still too early for advanced games.

On the point of older browsers: 1) the trend of % of people using older browsers is going down. Whereas the number of people using modern browsers without flash and/or java is going up (ie iOS mobile).

2) someone with an older browser expects certain parts of the web to be broken. Being broken in IE6 somewhat says "were more modern than you, try again after you upgrade.". I think people who see this are likely to come back at a future date, whereas someone who can't use it bc of flash is unlikely to think their problem will go away in the future.

But the cost of installing Java is spread across several apps. So the cost is negligible over time.

It is like saying, if I build a web-app, the user needs to first install the browser. True, but once installed, other web-apps have a zero cost of installation.

Not exactly. A web browser has to be installed before they start the process. Java has to be installed either at the beginning of the process or during the process.

I.e. the installation point of java is inside of my conversion funnel for some x > 0% of people I am targeting.

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