Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

@Media Ajax Panel

Category: Presentation

Panel at @media ajax 2008.

Dean Edwards, Brendan Eich, Christian Heillmann, Jake Archibald, Joe Walker (chair)

I’ve captured at least some of what was said here ;).

What is the Open Web to you and why is it important (or otherwise)?

(general agreement that it’s good thing, as we’d expect :)
Christian – What if open formats don’t have the reach? e.g. ogg vorbis.

One JS file can’t depend on another without wrapping all the code in a function. How should this be solved? An “include” function in ES4?

Brendan – “include” could make UI lock up. Can do it with (html 5) web workers (speculative parsing).

Should you pick just one library/framewrk to use, a handful, or have an open policy to use anything at any time? How do you evaluate which one(s) to use?

Christian – would be good to see comparison sites like cmsmatrix.org, not just which one is 20 milliseconds faster than the other. (MM – I tried to create something like this, but it could be bigger in both dimensions.)

Discussion about the “glow” library created by BBC, discussed by Jake Archibald yesterday. Okay to release unpolished product to open source as an individual or small company, but harder when it carries the name of a big organisation like BBC.

What kind of build scripts/engines do you recommend to concatenate multiple scripts into one?

Jokes about copy-paste and batch scripts.

Christian – It’s 2008 – we should be using minifier, etc. More structured approach to releasing.

What recent tools or techniques do you use to speed up or improve your development process? Do you have any quick tips?

Jake – More developers :) HTML editor – Komodo edit. Debug – Firebug in FF, Developer toolbar and windows script debugger in IE

Christian – Moving to a Mac made developing far better, and partly due to Textmate. And Javascript bundle that runs JSLint over your code. Firebug.

Brendan – Distributed version control systems have been good. Textmate’s good, but I’m an old Vi/Unix hacker.

Dean – Recently disabled Firebug to speed up development – causes bugs, reports misleading line numbers, etc. Went back to error console which gives you the correct line number. (Joe – it’s getting better now.) Microsoft script debugger is actually quite good.

Christian – Firefox still the coolest browser for developers, but with all the tools, have to keep turning off greasemonkey scripts etc.

Does Cappucino / Objective-J have a future? What are their benefits and detriments?

Dean – More problems in the browser
Brendan – GWT guys are realists, acknowledge their abstractions leak. But OTOH they’ve made Ajax development accessible to Java developers who otherwise wouldn’t do it.
Brendan (asked about what he’d do if he could change the language in the browser) – You’d get a lot of demand for Python and Ruby, Python’s probably the more mature.
Brendan – Flex originally intended to make web app development like windows development. (Questions this approach). Pity we don’t have things like JQuery for desktop apps.

What’s the biggest missing bit of functionality from modern web browsers?

Christan – Big problem is we’re stuck with old browsers.
Jake – Large companies lock down IE6.

Poll of audience – many people work for companies where the average user still runs IE6.

How to prevent? 37signals, Apple, Facebook have all written apps that don’t target IE6. Christian-mainstream media could help, e.g. recent article saying users rarely get viruses via FF. Facebook also recommends FF and Safari along with IE.

Christian – Chrome is targeted at regular users, not developers – so IE market share might reduce. Brendan – Chrome might, good if they do, but difficult to see how to make a major change.

Jake – Apple get away with a lot of evil that if MS did the same thing they would be beaten for. e.g. Apple ships with a browser, just like MS.

Back to the question – what would you want:

Dean – standardised behaviour extensions for CSS
Jake – constants in CSS

Joe – vector graphics engine – canvas everywhere

Christian – web forms – e.g. calendar control

Jake – CSS – multiple background images

Christian – better layout (discussing boxes and vertical centering). Right now, we’re as hacky as we were with tables.

Christian – better video and audio support (Jake – Flash alrady does this well, would rather see effort spent on other things).

Audience – up button (to go up directory levels).

Posted by Michael Mahemoff at 11:08 am

3.9 rating from 16 votes


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Funny how MS fan (jake) answer to a simple question :
What’s the biggest missing bit of functionality from modern web browsers?

[quote] – Apple get away with a lot of evil that if MS did the same thing they would be beaten for. e.g. Apple ships with a browser, just like MS.[end quote]

Comment by kadoudal — September 16, 2008

Yeah … Jake did note prior to saying that he was the only speaker to use a PC

Comment by Michael Mahemoff — September 17, 2008

@Michael Mahemoff Mac / Linux(partially) / Windows are all PCs

Comment by CarstepHUN — September 17, 2008

@kadoudal linux ships with a browser a to.. OH NOES!

Comment by V1 — September 17, 2008

Hopefully the audio will be available shortly, you’ll be able to hear the context of my comment along with a number of digs I made towards MS.

Comment by jaffathecake — September 17, 2008

Look forward to listening to this. Someone please post the link when it becomes available.

Comment by dshaw — September 18, 2008

Quick clarification: Web Workers and Speculative Parsing are two different ways to get around the lack of “include” in JS, not the same thing.


Comment by BrendanEich — September 19, 2008

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