There is an alternative to serving up source code that works well in a growing number of situations, eg the JVM, CLR and Adobe’s Flash Player. All of these technologies serve bytecode to the execution engine, rather than source code. As the bytecode specification of each is open and published (or mostly published, in the case of Flash), any number of source languages can be used to generate code that will run on these virtual machines (VMs).
One of these VM technologies – Flash – has become a web hot topic of late due to Apple deciding it was a threat to their business model. This has given rise to much talk of HTML5 being the Flash-slaying future saviour of the web. Folk who talk of HTML5 replacing Flash are missing the point completely though. The web doesn’t need more gradual – near-stagnant – evolution, it needs revolution: we need to kill off HTML and replace it with an open-standards Flash equivalent.