HyperTextMatters
22 August 2005
 
Javascript: Ten Years Squandered
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Several technologies integral to the explosion that is "the web" are ten years old as of 2005, including ColdFusion, Java & PHP.  But let's not forget Javascript -- or, on second thought, let's.  Because Javascript came into being to enable client side form validation, and after ten years we are hardly closer to doing this correctly than in 1995.  AJAX is not the answer -- other than for simple logins where interaction with server side data is necessary anyway -- because AJAX introduces potential network latency and thereby defeats the original purpose.  JSON, being parsable on both the client and server, gets us partway, but not all the way there, as regular expressions, which are vital to form validation, are prohibited.  And that's too bad for JSON, because with vision beyond being yet another data exchange format, it could rival AJAX for buzz and utility.
Posted by htmatters at 11:29 PM | Comments (3)
 
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Re: Javascript: Ten Years Squandered
The author is pretty clueless. According to Brendan Eich (who created JavaScript at Netscape), JavaScript was developed to make web pages dynamic, not for simple form validation.

http://wp.netscape.com/comprod/columns/techvision/innovators_be.html

Posted by fredOz on August 23, 2005 at 3:33 AM

Re: Javascript: Ten Years Squandered
That's a nice link, but, quoting from it regarding Javascript: "a dynamic language .... inside the browser that could be used to automate parts of a web page or make a web page more dynamic" -- well that certainly does not rule out form validation. On the other hand, see the first sentence of the following PDF, being the first chapter of Zakas' "Professional Javascript for Web Developers":

http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/88/07645790/0764579088.pdf

Posted by htmatters on August 23, 2005 at 6:55 AM

Re: Javascript: Ten Years Squandered
Your claim was that JavaScript came into being to validate forms. Both Netscape and the original developer of JavaScript say it was intended to provide far more than simple form validation. - to infer that was its primary purpose is not correct. Even the Zakas article you refer to makes only a passing reference to form validation, and the reference that he quotes makes no mention of forms at all - it is much more aligned with the statements from Netscape and Eich.

JavaScript is limited by its environment, however it is ideal for the situation in which it is used. I don't think any other technology could have survived - JavaScript has fended off attacks from JScript, VBScript and ActiveX in an environment where those technologies ran on up to 95% of browsers.

I reckon its been a remarkable success, the real challenge is where to next?

Posted by fredOz on August 23, 2005 at 9:18 AM

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