Infrequently Noted

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

taking this show on the road

Like Aaron, I'm going to be speaking at OSCON next month. Somehow I've managed to get myself roped into doing both a talk and a tutorial (although my name's not on the tutorial page yet).

I'm excited and scared at the same time. Since I'm not exactly certain what to talk about at my talk, perhaps you (dear intermittent reader) can help. What should I talk about? If you were trapped in a room with me for and hour and had to listen to me talk abut something, what would it be?

Also, if you're going to be going to OSCON, drop me a line (alex @ dojotoolkit dot org) and perhaps we can meet up for beer or something.

JS everywhere

I often refer to JavaScript as "the trojan horse of languages". You think you're getting a browser or another type of programming tool (Java, .NET, Windows), but what you''re unwittingly getting is also a JavaScript interpreter. The practical upshot of this is that JavaScript is probably the world's most widely deployed scripting language. Ever. I think it probably beats Forth (which is shipped in every Mac and Sun BIOS).

Well, now when you get a JotSpot, you're also getting a JS interpreter too.

If you haven't ever taken a look at JS the language (and not the browser bindings that most people are used to), this is a great way to experiment with it in an environment where there's a rich set of bindings to the wiki (jot.lib) and e4x enabled by default.

something's coming

People ask me a lot "so, is there anyone using Dojo to build applications?" and I say "yes". They then ask "who?" and I start looking at my feet and muttering, hoping they think they misheard me and will therefore not press the issue.

Well, I can almost stop muttering and mumbling. It's coming. I can't really say what "it" is, or who is making "it", or even when you'll be able to play with "it" for your very own self. But it's coming, and I cant wait to start showing demos and talking about it ad-nauseum ('cause you know I will).

But boy oh boy is it cool. It warms the cockles of my geeky-but-user-centered heart just thinking of it.

Soon! I promise! Soon! even quacks like an application...

So I joined Jot about 6 months ago, and shortly after I joined I found myself at lunch with Graham (among others). As I started to ask questions about how the system worked, it seemed like every sentence that I'd start as a question, he'd finish with "yes, and it also...". It is, in short, amazing. It's everything I thought a web app platform should be. Sure, it might not be polished (yet), and it might not be what you think of as a "web app platform" in the classical sense, but don't let that stop you from reading:

If you read it and get it, I mean REALLY get it, it will completely transform the way you think about building web applications. And then you'll be as hooked on Jot as I am.

And you'll probably even forget that it's also a wiki.

measuring project size

A day or two ago, I was chatting with Aaron and Java came up for some reason. At the same time, I was having to re-checkout a ton of code thanks to Eclipse getting "confused". Watching the checkout files fly by, I couldn't help but notice how many times the word "junit" kept going by (each time, a jar file). Maybe someday the Java world will discover "shared libraries".

And then it occurred to me: you can measure the size of a Java project by how many different copies of JUnit are part of it's source and the source of other packages it depends on.

I think I'm going to start using it as an ad-hoc measure for Java project complexity. "Oh, it's a 3-unit project..." or "Eh, shouldn't be hard to learn, it's only a 1-unit project".

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