Components and glue

I love the way blogspace tends toward correctness. The title of yesterday's item -- "Let's make HTML/JavaScript suck less" -- was misleading. Evan Williams said:

It sounds like what he really means is let's stop doing a crappy jop using HTML/JavaScript. [ EVHEAD]
Exactly so, thanks Evan! I certainly meant, though the title did not properly convey it, that it is not the Web 1.0 technologies (HTML/JavaScript) which suck, but rather the Web 1.0 experience we create using those technologies -- one that often, and easily, be improved.

In any case, the item provoked some good feedback. Stewart Butterfield, founder and president of Ludicorp, wrote to say:

If you are clever (and meticulous) you can make javascript + DOM + CSS not only not suck, but do amazing things. You should check out the Game Neverending prototype for a few minutes (we take it down at the end of this week to make way to component betas of the non-JS-based "real game"). But I think the prototype was unparalleled JS and shows how far one can go with it.

No kidding! It's a tour de force! Meanwhile, DJ Adams wrote to say:

One of the advantages of JavaScript and (D)HTML is that it's so malleable and isn't picky about its suitors. Recently at work I put together what turned out to be quite a seamless transition from an innocent HTML href to suddenly having an MS-Windows app appear on the screen (served from NFuse/Citrix). Because it was possible to 'hijack' the HTML & JavaScript (and associated cookie-settings and so on) and control redirections, I could build such a conduit.

These two perspectives dovetail interestingly. I fully expect that we'll see a flowering of component-based and Web-services-aware client-side technology. To the extent that XML-over-HTTP is the language spoken by components, they'll continue to be available for "hijacking" -- or, if you prefer, "intermediation" -- so I'm not worried about that. I do wonder about the potential loss of malleability, though, when software that was expressed in a glue language (like JavaScript) gets componentized using C or C# or Java.

In this respect, I find the new breed of Flash MX components -- which are themselves made purely out of ActionScript -- to be particularly interesting. I think that model is goodness. Components and glue, all the same stuff basically, reorganize as needed.

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