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 The Big Picture BUILDER.COM

Fredric Paul

Top 10 overrated Web building products and technologies

The Web has finally arrived. Internet companies have become the darlings of the stock market, and everyone is scrambling to build ever cooler and more powerful Web sites. Everything is going down milkshake smooth.

I don't want to rain on the parade, but I've noticed that in the midst of this general Internet euphoria, certain Web products and technologies have totally failed to live up to their advance billing. I think it's high time someone pointed out the perennial disappointments, embarrassed the embarrassing underachievers, and popped some overblown hype balloons.

Debunking this kind of hysteria is practically a public service, so here goes. Welcome to my own personal Big Picture list of the top 10 overrated Web building products and technologies. Some of my choices follow the conventional wisdom, others are more controversial. Some are included because nothing could possibly stand up to the hype they've received. Others make the list for not delivering on even modest promises.

Don't like my brand of nattering negativity? Don't worry, I'll address the most underrated Web building products and technologies in an upcoming column!

Overrated! No. 10: Java on the browser
Sure, Java's great for distributed enterprise applications, and maybe even for embedded systems, but it simply hasn't lived up to its promise of "write once, run everywhere." And on the Web, even the smallest Java applets drive surfers crazy as they wait for their Java Virtual Machines to load. That's why many people turn off Java in their browsers. They're simply unwilling to wait for something that isn't that interesting in the first place.

And let's face it, the vast majority of Java applets on the Web are a drag. Most Java applets don't do anything but look cool. My advice to Web builders? Don't use Java unless you have a really good reason. And one more thing, banner ads usually don't qualify as a good reason to use Java. That goes even for advertisers on BUILDER.COM--if any of you are listening.

The bottom line: While Java on the server still shows promise, Java on the client is a certified bust. Sort of like the U.S. World Cup soccer team.

No. 9: Plug this in!

Related CNET stories:
 • Java development tools
 • 20 questions on Java, in CNET.COM
 • Builder Downloads: Java
 • Master Builder: Learning Java
 • Master Builder: Java cracks the enterprise barrier
 • Master Builder: Java class-library warfare
 • Master Builder: Java class-library warfare, round 2
 • Sun aims Java at big business, in NEWS.COM

Links from around the Web:
 • IBM's JCentral Java search engine
 • Java resources, in Snap

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