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Steve Yegge’s NBL

April 27, 2007 2 comments

Most readers of this blog would have read Steve Yegge’s prediction on the Next Big Language (NBL). In his post, Steve refused to actually name the language but he dropped hints on the language (languages?) he had in mind. Commenters on his blog tried guessing the language – JavaScript2, Erlang, Scala, Perl6 etc were mentioned. If I had to guess I would have guessed JavaScript2; but I am no expert in programing languages, so my strategy is to wait and watch.

But today, I was re-reading an old blog post and I was reminded of Steve’s prediction. Jarosaw “sztywny” Rzeszótko, a young Polish blogger, had send 10 questions to 8 famous programmers and he had posted their replies (I had written about it too). Here are some excerpts from that post:

Q. What do you think will be the next big thing in computer programming? X-oriented programming, y language, quantum computers, what?

Steve Yegge:
I think web application programming is gradually going to become the most important client-side programming out there. I think it will mostly obsolete all other client-side toolkits: GTK, Java Swing/SWT, Qt, and of course all the platform-specific ones like Cocoa and Win32/MFC/etc.

It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s very slowly been going that direction for ten years, and it could well be another ten years before web apps “win”. The tools, languages, APIs, protocols, and browser technology will all have to improve far beyond what you can accomplish with them today. But each year they get a little closer, and I’ve finally decided to switch all my own app development over to browser-based programming from now on.

Microsoft and Apple definitely don’t want this to happen, so a necessary first step will be for an open-source browser such as Firefox to achieve a dominant market position, which will in turn require some sort of Firefox-only killer app. (A killer app would be something like iTunes, something that everyone in the world wants to use, badly enough to download Firefox for it.)

Q. If you had three months to learn one relativly new technology, which one would You choose?

Steve Yegge:
I do happen to have 3 months (part-time), and I’m spending it learning Dojo (http://dojotoolkit.org) and advanced AJAX and DHTML. I’m learning it by writing a fairly ambitious web application. Dojo’s really cool, and I’m sure it will only improve with time.

sztywny made this post on Oct 16th 2006 and Steve made his NBL post on Feb 19th 2007. From the above snippet, I think Steve had JavaScript2 on his mind as the NBL.

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Categories: browser, javascript, software, tech

Splash screen for a javascript application

January 6, 2007 3 comments

At work we are developing a web application that is delivered in a single-page (like GMail, Yahoo! Mail etc). We use the Dojo javascript framework.

Our homepage has multiple javascript widgets. When a user gets to the homepage, the browser downloads the HTML, javascript and CSS files and there is a delay before the DOM elements are decorated and laid out properly. During this delay the user gets to see a partially loaded page. The user can’t start using the application unless the whole page is laid out well, so showing a partially loaded ugly page is not desirable. Yahoo! Mail shows a splash screen of Liam, their mascot, while the application is being loaded – I wanted to implement the same feature for my application.

Searching the Dojo mailing list, I was able to figure out how do this. Essentially you have two DIVs on the homepage – one with the splash screen and one with the real LayoutContainer holding the application widgets. Initially the splash DIV is shown, and the real DIV is hidden. When the page finishes loading and after all widgets are laid out properly, the splash DIV will be hidden and the real DIV would be shown.


function show_main_gui() {
    dojo.byId("splash").style.display = "none";
    dojo.lfx.fadeShow("real", 100);
}
dojo.addOnLoad(show_main_gui);
<div id="splash" style="position: absolute; top: 200px; width: 100%;z-index: 100;">
   <div align=center>
        <img src="images/throbber.gif"/>
   </div>
</div>

<div id="real" dojoType="LayoutContainer"
    style="opacity: 0.01;filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(opacity=1);">
...
</div>

I got the throbber built at ajaxload.info – it is a great site for making throbber images.

Categories: browser, dojo, javascript, tech