Blog-o! Notes from latte.ca

Wed, 13 Jun 2007
J

This started off as a response to Greg's post, but grew too long, so I figured I'ld put it here instead.

The reaction I've seen from the developer community to Apple's "iPhone Development" announcement has been poor at best. Everyone seems to think that it's a cop-out, and that they should have just said "We don't support third-party development, but you can use the web." My favourite quote has to be from John Gruber:

If all you have to offer is a shit sandwich, just say it. Don't tell us how lucky we are and that it's going to taste delicious.
Maybe it's because I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but I don't think the Web 2.0 development is really the wave of the future. I think the future, like the past, will have desktop apps, client-server apps with both thick and thin clients, where the server may be a web server or may not, etc, etc...

And Javascript is still missing the extreme number of useful libraries that the other three languages have. Like Calvin Spealman says:

Does syntax alone make a language? Maybe one day it could, but those days died out. Python is far more than its clean, beautiful syntax. The libraries that come in the standard library provide even more value. As a foundation for all the software built on top, these packages are fundamental to the success of Python.
and I find that to be true over and over again. Java the language kind of sucks. But the huge number of libraries to do just about anything I want really rocks. (And the IDEs are sweet too, which is a good thing, since trying to write Java without an IDE would give even a super-robot a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome.)

Which is not to say that there won't be more and more libraries shipped with Javascript, but then again, since it's mainly a web-language, the browser makers will want to keep it light, and so the libraries won't be part of the language proper, as they are with Python or Java, and any "standard" library you see will be vendor-specific, just like it is today. (I already write some Javascript scripts for my day job, but I know that they're going to run on a Windows box. I have no idea how to write the cross-platform equivalent of stuff like:

if ( FS.FileExists( flavour + "\\gamelist.txt" ) )
or:
WScript.Echo( "Unhandled folder: " + fname );
much less:
var WSHShell = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Shell");
var cmdline = "jar.exe xvf " + item + " META-INF/MANIFEST.MF";
WSHShell.Run( cmdline, ActivateAndHide, true );
Any suggestions?

And while I'm here, that red "J" was the best thing I could come up with for a Javascript logo, after extensive web searching. (There's a reason I'm a programmer, and not a graphics person.) Anyone seen anything better?

[Posted at 13:32 by Blake Winton] link
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