Friday, November 09, 2007

FUD by Doug Crockford

I like some of Yahoo's Doug Crockford's ideas on JavaScript. So I watched this talk by him on the State of Ajax. It has a great buildup on the history of computing and comparing pre-Ajax web apps to the IBM 3270. He's also a clearly opinionated guy, but he really lets this influence his statements. Examples...

He claims that Java applets failed primarily because of "write once, run anywhere" was a broken promise. That's ridiculous. First off Java applets only needed to succeed on Windows, so write once, run anywhere was irrelevant for a desktop technology. He does correctly state that Java UI (AWT) was no good. He commits a lie of omission, by failing to mention Microsoft's JVM infringements. He then says that Java succeeded on the server because (wait for it) write once, run anywhere is not an issue on the server. Not only is this wrong, it's the opposite of the truth. When I first started writing Java server apps in 2000, I was writing it on Windows and deploying it to Solaris.

Next he heaps praise on JScript and says that its "bugs" were just reproductions of Netscape's bugs. There is some truth in this, but it certainly shows his bias. He states that JScript inveted XMLHttpRequest and that there no innovations for five years after that until Jesse James Garret "discovered" Ajax.

He completely ignores Flash. Earlier he states that write once, run anywhere is really difficult and anybody that can pull it off deserves credit. Well Flash pulls it off. He claims that JavaScript pulls it off, but that's just plain wrong. I don't know how somebody who knows JavaScript so well can state this. He's smart enough to know all about doing browser sniffing and conditional logic based on the results of that sniff.

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