Infrequently Noted

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

"Action Oriented Programming"

It's good to be back in SF after a pretty hectic week in Boston for Dojo Developer Days and The Ajax Experience. There's a lot to say about them, which hopefully I'll get to in a longer post. Our first DDD event under Pete's excellent leadership was a success and Dojo and SitePen very well represented at the conference.

While in Boston, Gavin and Jill joined a gaggle of Dojo hackers at a dinner ostensibly to mourn my birthday (thanks to Dylan and Pete for organizing!) and in the course of conversation Jill asked something along the lines of:

So why do people get so excited about closures?

Which prompted a several of us to flail and flop gasping the salt flats of analogy like fish out of polite-conversation water. After about 10 minutes of this, Jill succinctly summed it all up in the form of a question:

Oh, so it's like "action-oriented programming"?

This is perhaps the most insightful and succinct description I have ever heard of what JavaScript is all about.

Update: Jennifer just played this for me and it gets right to the heart of this post: the important part of doing what we do with computers, and more importantly, with the web, is to give the power of Computer Science to real people...and it starts with insights like Jill's that build a shared way of thinking and talking about the world. It makes me sad that many programmers miss that, but when non-programmers can share in the beauty and power of code, it does a lot to make it all seem worthwhile.