Re: JavaScript

Subject: Re: JavaScript
From: Beth Mazur <mazur -at- MAYA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 09:18:45 -0500

At 8:43 AM -0500 3/26/97, Tammy Hale wrote:
>However, I believe that web development will not
>be in the hands of writers and engineers for very long.
>As web authoring tools with graphical user interfaces (GUIs)
>replace tagging tools, the ability to create websites will
>be widespread and not a specialized craft.

You know, several years ago I heard this same thing said about
programming in general. I keep waiting for the tool (Lord knows
that Visual Basic isn't it) that makes programming something
other than a "specialized craft."

My take on the JavaScript thing is that it is certainly
worth one's while to learn a programming language that one
might use in some capacity. From what I've seen of JavaScript
applications on the web though, it seems that in far too many
cases the "functionality" provided by JavaScript rarely
contributes to the signal to noise ratio (in fact, I liken
some examples, like the "change my background colors whenever
the page is reloaded" or the "make my buttons change colors
on mouseover" to be more annoying than helpful, somewhat in
the same vein as the page with 18 animated GIFs all going at
the same time).

The interesting question (to me) in all of this is whether
the web will always support non-"active" content pages or
whether the web will move towards being primarily one big CD-ROM.

If you think the former, then I think that tech writers would
be better served by learning more about design and delivery
of documents on the online platform. Just as DTP tools don't
make one a good document designer, web GUI tools will not make
the average person a good web site developer (i.e., just because
you can choose white text on a retina-frying red background doesn't
mean you should). If you think the latter, then learning JavaScript
is probably good job security.

Beth Mazur
mazur -at- maya -dot- com

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