Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Comments for And So It Begins

Similar to Yahoo's supporting PHP, apparently spreading stupidity is becoming widespread. The competition is about avoiding rtfm. fun, fun, fun...
by Mike at
Hey Mike,

I'm not sure I agree with you on the PHP front.

One of the features of expressive languages is that they give bad developers more of a chance to in exactly the same way that they let great developers do amazing things with less effort.

The good news is that they create a market for quality. I for one don't really want to be using tools that let the incompetent hide out behind IDE's and crappy code generation. Fortunantly PHP, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, Perl, and other scripting languages make that much harder. In essence, you know sooner when you have a mess on your hands.


by alex at
speaking as someone who has watched yahoo's employment of page generation tools from their earliest incarnation, i can say clearly that php was a major step forward given the tools that came earlier. a quick summary:

tool 0: headers that said basically 'count N bytes from here and insert this file', thats it! biggest bug: you could clobber your own html by missing a byte, but i cannot conceive of anything faster. ran on custom webserver (apache still not widespread)

tool 1: inlined 'script' like commands that required support at the shared object level, meaning if you wanted a function called foo() in your html, you needed to put fooFun() in your .so as well. biggest bug: lots of coredumps in this model, lesson learned that not all coders are systems coders.

tool 3: php. biggest bug: letting php turn you into an idiot.

alex is 100% correct when he states that the best coders at the front end are able to track the entire stack and know whats happening. coders who can't see past the web layer, or who have no experience with efficiency-minded coding often rely far too much on the mythology that hardware and network resources will happily absorb all of their abstractions and waste.

i would be surprised if GWT gets much traction.

by grumpY! at
Hello Alex,

I would have to agree with you. I have improperly voiced my PHP rage to a wrong war.

I believe IDE's carry a vision... a dream. Currently as it stands, just an illusion and certainly a wrong answer to the delicate world of web. I take too much joy coding with my scite text editor to be eager to explore the world of IDE’s. I sometimes wonder though. A friend recently demoed the new Microsoft .net IDE that supposedly does lots of ajax magic. I enjoyed the demo. After a few minutes of dragging, clicking, etc he delivered the promised and compiled out a single web page that did some trickery when a button was clicked. He wasn’t sure if the operation was server side or client side and took pride for it saying ‘It hides all the confusing stuff.’ I don’t know how creative can you get with that, but I certainly wouldn’t want to speak my mind using Microsoft IDE.

Perhaps one day writing applications becomes actually more productive using IDE’s (LabView is already doing a good job with it with hardware programming.) And that day, IDE users can then take the pride for playing the test monkey for Microsoft for all those years and their hard work paid off. I shall retire then.

On a different note, I think yahoo’s support for PHP is creating a disaster. It makes PHP coders believe this is THE language web development and there will be no graduating. PHP is a good jump start, but promotes horrible web development practices as it is.

Regards, Mike

by Mike at
Hello guys,

I must say that i share the same feeling about IDE's (nice one here: But as of the choice of the programming language, I don't think it matters that much, as long as you, the programmer know enough things about what you are doing. Just look at JavaScript and how many great things you can do with it (applause for Alex and Dojo). A few years ago nobody thought this can be done in js, people looked at js as to a "toy" programming language. The same thing applies to Java, PHP or anything else. You can do stupid things in any language; but that doesn't mean that the language itself is stupid. WordPress is made in PHP, right ? I think it's an excellent script, don't you ? There are excellent apps made in other programming languages too. What I am trying to say is that if you are not a good programmer, or if you don't know all the facts about what you are doing, you can use any language; still the result will be the same: crapy. I have seen a lot of java, php and even a lot more .net crappy apps. The programmer, not the language matters. Also, keep in mind that JavaScript, PHP, Python didn't have the promotion that Java or .net had. These languages evolved supported by their online communities; they did not target the enterprise level as Java and .net do. And they managed to hold on and evolve, and that says a lot. Now both Java and .net want to "provide" AJAX out of the box. They want you to build AJAX apps without knowing what it is all about, and in my oppinion, quoting Mark, that "promotes horrible web development practices as it is".

Dojo rocks.


by Doru at
Hello guys, I have recently started using Dojo so I thought I would checkout the blog... Anyway, I am currently developing a JS centric web content management system. I have been a Java programmer for years, but more and more I moving towards the possibilities of more JavaScript centric apps. In age where persistence of objects is becoming increasingly integral to application development, it is going to become increasingly important for object lifecycles to become more dynamic. JavaScript a true dynamic language is much more prepared for the realm of object augmentation, and dynamic behavior modification that is going to become increasingly part of the software as object lifecycles really become more persistent. I don't think that the GWT takes web development in right directioon. By taking Java bytecode and converting it JS it is defeating some of the great potential of JS. It is most likely going to produce slow, unoptimized JS, I would imagine as well. With my development, I am focusing on developing my application using a domain data model actually lazy loaded into the JS environment, for a true client-centric programming model. A distinct departure from the server-centric model that attempts to make the activity on the browser transparently handled, rather than vice-versa, but I think that it is direction that the web is going. Anyway, I really appreciate Dojo, that I have contributed a lot to providing a more structure framework for JS development. Thanks, Kris
More GWT Developments

The ferment going on around the GWT is truly impressive. Whether this bubbling activity is caused by all the frustrated Java programmers that this framework has unleashed on Javascript and the browser, or by the Google name that draws people