This session is going to be insane, the information that I’m expecting may warp my fragile little mind.

The Experts
– Stuart Halloway, Relevance (Formerly CTO of Develop Mentor)
– John Resig, jQuery (Mozilla)
– Alex Russel, Dojo (SitePen)
– Aaron Gustafson, A List Apart (Easy Designs)
– Joe Walker, DWR

The questions.

How do you choose a framework?

– A few years ago the advice was, get help somewhere. Now Prototype is his bag, but none do exactly what he wants, so he feels the need to mix and match.

– I use prototype, like everything what everyone else is doing.

Why do we need the diversity of frameworks? Should we be working on consolidating them?

– When you choose a framework your buying into its methodology of scripting. The features may be the same, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

– Dojo tried to bring all the developers under one roof and consolidating that inovation going forward, but they failed at that pretty miserably.

– I want it all, I want small light weight, while also being able to get the full kitchen sink framework.
– Someone do RSpec in Javascript please! K thx.

– Get the guys together in one room and make some decisions. Get people to endorse libraries and to have them play well together.

– Libraries MUST work together. jQuery has concerned themselves in a militant way to working with other libraries. jQuery even works with older versions of jQuery because of this.

Are any of you going to be using browser plugins in your development? Or are you focused on the OpenWeb?

– All open web, some customers request it, but he still hopes to use DOJO on those projects, atleast to extract the effort of flash development.

– Flash really excels at a lot of things, and has tremendious penetration. So it has a purpose, but there is not a reason to TRY to use Flash.

Are applets coming back?

– There is to big a hurdle to start adopting again, considered an old and legacy product. Joe turns it off in his browser.

Should we abandon CSS positioning in favor of Javascript Layout? (Whaa, JS Layout?)

-CSS isn’t broken, the multi-column module needs fixing (or maybe not, see comments), and there are some really nice things coming. You can do anything with CSS, it may have been convoluted, but you could still do it. (Ohh I got one I don’t think he can do. Damn footers) Javascript for layout is going to be all inline CSS, so he is against it.

– Keeping the seperation between JS and layout is very important.

– Doesn’t agree with Gustafson about how CSS isn’t broken. The Border box model is clearly correct, though the margin box model isn’t clearly wrong. I can see Alex trying to be civil while holding back his venom for CSS. Oh how many sleepless nights has it caused this poor man.

– Agrees that W3C is dysfunctional, CSS isn’t getting any progress. Most browsers allow you to do DOCTYPE switching to determine the box model you desire, some browsers have started trying to allow you to sepecify the box model in css. (Mozilla does this) If you need someone to complain to about CSS, Aaron Gustafson is your man. (wink wink).

Mixing and Matching different Toolkits with different formats. So GWT is tightly integrated with itself, what should we do to get it interacting with other frameworks?

– Uhhh, GWT?

Whats broken about CSS?

– So if we had the table layout module for CSS it wouldn’t be AS broken. CSS is kind of like Ant it works great for what its supposed to do, but horrible for things that it wasn’t expected for. No hooks, we can’t just abstract the problems with a framework like we did for the DOM.

– Variables would be cool sure, theres a battle between what designers feel comfortable with vs something a developer would feel comfortable with. Designers dont always fully understand variables.

– CAD made a transition similar.

– CSS is hard, we need a class on CSS just cause its complicated, not because people don’t understand it.

What are you guys doing to maintain the purity of Javascript?

– Worried about where JS 2 and HTML 5 are headed, excited that its maturing but scared it may mature into the ugly stepsister of the family.

– No expressiveness is being lost, you can still write things as you are now.

– Closures are great give us half of what we need, if we had continuations we’d be done, we could do what we wanted. But with JS 2 its to now focused and not acceptancing large changes. The inheritince sucks, you don’t want is a, you want has a.
– The language isn’t telling us what it needs, and we don’t fully know what it should be.

Why would you tie a client side scripting language to a server based framework? Such as DWR which is Java only.

– Realized he excluded 70% of the market by doing java only. He’s doing a job and doing it well.

– With something tightly integrated like DWR, you can make some assumptions.

– GWT is the far end of the spectrum, not DWR. GWT uses the bad part of the java world, the language.

Where does SVG have a future in the different browsers?

-Mozilla has a lot of great things coming for SVG. Though Canvas is much more exciting.

Some CSS question, didn’t get the question and Gustafson basically said, it can already do it.

So thats about it, you can tell as developers we can discuss topics of soreness for a LONG time. They could have another discussion on CSS for at least 2 hours. It was definitely the sore point of the discussion.


2 Responses to “TAE: Day 2 – Ask the AJAX Experts”

  1. Aaron Gustafson Says:

    Thanks for recapping this.

    Can I request a few minor corrections? My last name is misspelled in your intro and Ben misspoke when he said “A Site Apart,” it’s A List Apart.

    As a little clarification, I didn’t *quite* say that browsers allow you to change the box model. All browsers (including IE6 and higher) have the “DOCTYPE Switch” which allows you to switch between the W3C Box Model and the IE5 Box Model, but there has been some talk about CSS3 including the ability to choose the box model you want to use on an ad-hoc basis.

    Also, I did not say that the CSS Multi-Column Layout module “needs fixing,” but it is the first spec the CSS Eleven (of which I am a member) will be looking at. We will be looking for ambiguities and potential oversights in the spec, but more importantly, we will be creating actual demonstrations of it in use and what we would expect that use to translate to in a browser. Consider them to be implementation directions for the browser vendors.

    Thanks again for the recap!

  2. Justise Says:

    Hey Aaron

    Thanks for the feedback, I’m sorry for the typo’s and mis-statements.

    I fixed your name, your statement about the box model, though I don’t remember what your comment exactly was about the multi-column layout was so I told them to come down here to get some resolution.

    I still feel CSS is broken, that I have to spend a week trying to fix a floating footer at the bottom of the page and never get it right means it doesn’t do what I want. I got the impression by you saying we don’t understand CSS is that we need to temper our expectations and design to CSS, which just doesn’t seem kosher.

    I look forward to the next Q an A with your participation.

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