Maybe it’s time to learn Javascript?

My efforts to learn Scheme have stalled a bit lately. I’ve been quite busy both at home and at work. Unfortunately, I think that project is going to have to go on hold even longer. I do still plan to finish learning Scheme and/or Lisp, but I think I’m going to first spend some time getting better acquainted with Javascript.

Why? Good question. As I mentioned in my last post, I think we’re entering a new era for web application development. Web applications are going to be less about pages of html (with perhaps some snippets of Javascript to add a few dynamic behaviors). Instead, I think we’ll see more real applications, written in Javascript, that run in the browser. Some of the HTML and CSS will be static in the file, some will be loaded from the server (with XMLHTTPRequest or hidden IFrames), but a lot of it will be generated programatically.

I wouldn’t actually be surprised to see a web based app whose only server side component is some static files and a web service (REST or SOAP/RPC model). All of the user interface logic would be client side Javascript and DHTML. The Javascript client side application would call the web service to load/save/query any persistent data.

Sound far fetched? Check out this screen-cast from Jon Udell. In it, he demonstrates an amazing Javascript IDE/GUI builder from, of all people, TIBCO. It looks very impressive for being entirely client side Javascript. Of course, being that it’s a TIBCO product I’m sure it’ll cost an atrocious amount and probably have some kind of insanely restrictive license. 🙂


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