For some reason, the guy always seems to be doing something I’m doing at the same kind of moment. When I wrote my first VS.NET 2003 add-in, he was doing the same (and getting the same problems). Now I’m looking at ATLAS a bit, and again he’s dabbling in the same thing and has the same concerns, though a lot of what he says is aimed at AJAX too.

Anyway, he asserts that with bandwidth what it is, what we don’t need to be doing as developers around this time is shouting from the rooftops that something’s wrong with the current PostBack model. I sort of agree with him and I don’t at the same time. As a developer, his post makes me want to punch the air – goldarn it, I’ve already seen enough of AJAX applications to know that I don’t want to maintain somebody else’s, thanks very much. Plus, we’re all so used to PostBack now, there are more testing tools that fit the technique than you can shake a stick at, and we all understand the problem well enough to write systems that at least stick to some conventions.

AJAX has arrived (well, been hyped well beyond its original remit) and upset the apple cart to the extent that we’ll be years reaching another common understanding for the web as a platform (largely because of a cabal of hoity-toity people wandering around with their noses in the air squeaking “WEB 2.0!” at anyone who’ll listen), and the solutions to this problem (so far) are more bloody frameworks. I’m evaluating ATLAS at the moment and all I can say is I hope a standard establishes itself very soon. I also hope it isn’t ATLAS, as it’s a great big honking pig of a payload ;)

As a user, though, I’m currently sat in front of the WordPress authoring interface. This post doesn’t really fit any of the categories that I’ve already defined, so I’m going to add a new one. Right now, in that categories pane off to the right. Lessee … ENGINE “Web Development” … click “Add” … and there it is, fading in beautifully, and I’m back typing the post without waiting for my hoster.

So I suppose what I’m saying is this: Hooray! AJAX. I’m all for it, I am. Just please make sure I don’t have to ever maintain any unless someone writes a perfect, lightweight framework that has the elegance of Ruby and the penetration of JSP and ASP.NET combined. Thanks.

The Register reports that:

Smaller REAL Software is targeting Delphi users with the offer of a free license for its REALbasic 2003 for Windows Standard Edition.

Sun hopes to tempt the Delphi users with Java. Specifically, Sun is pitching its drag-and-drop Java Studio Creator environment.

Ok, neither of these companies understands what Delphi developers want.
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Interesting interview with David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals (the guys responsible for the excellent RoR-based Basecamp.

A key feature of Ruby is its dynamic typing, in contrast to the static typing of C/C++ or Java. If you give up the safety of static typing, then arguably a rigorous testing methodology is necessary in compensation. That’s the wonderful thing that’s been working out so well for dynamic languages like Ruby and Python and the others. We’ve had this resurgence of programmer-driven tests. If you have no tests, then static typing gives you something. I don’t agree that it gives you very much, because it’s usually not compile errors but the logic of your program that is wrong. Unit testing and functional testing catch all ENGINEs of errors, including logic errors. In a world where testing is considered a good, I think static typing is like a ball and a chain.

Maybe my aversion to JavaScript due to the volume of potential run-time errors is unfounded. Maybe I just don’t have enough test cases? That’s probably not it; Ruby is lovely and it’s fairly hard to love JavaScript :) Part of me wants to run off and learn Ruby properly right now. Another part of me is sick of being led around by the nose by the tech. The sensible part of me, though, realises that .NET’s still a better career choice and it’s still not the monster J2EE is. Happy middle ground. That’s what I’m in.

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