Javascript’s attire considered insufficient

Perhaps the emperor isn’t entirely starkers, but he isn’t dressed in much more than a grubby loincloth. Which is to say that I’ve often been bemused lately by the enthusiasm with which web developers have taken up the notion of coding entire applications in javascript. The word “notion” is important here – I don’t know if it’s actually being done to any significant degree, but lots of people seem to be reading a book or writing a toy app. Anyway, the fact that this seems to me to be a very odd thing to do I’ve just put down to my own ignorance and lack of insight, so I was somewhat heartened (and amused) to come across this interview with Gilad Bracha who had some choice comments on the subject.

In response to a question from Markus:

“…negative influences, languages you wouldn’t want to influence your [language] – I’m thinking about javascript in particular…”

Gilad replies:

“…javascript is a fairly poorly thought-out language, considering its influences were Scheme and Smalltalk it’s rather sad what came out…”
“…we are relatively lucky ’cause a lot worse [than javascript as the default in-browser language] could have happened, I mean javascript is a wonderful assembly language…people should not be programming the web directly in javascript, they should program in whatever they want and they should compile it down…”

More in this vein can be found on Gilad’s blog.

Interestingly, javascript as a compilation target is an essential part of the recent crop of cross-platform mobile development tools.

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