territory. They‘ve just never got on with each other, despite
similarnames. But as the years have worn on, the shunned language
is starting to stand up for itself.
Douglas Crockford: I’m Douglas Crockford from Yahoo!
Wießeckel: So why is that misunderstood?
Wießeckel: You said something about the good parts and the bad parts. Which one is the worst part?
Wießeckel: After your keynote there was a question about
CoffeeScript. Can you repeat?
Wießeckel: So the advantage of CoffeeScript is in the syntax?
Wießeckel: What about jQuery? It’s used by a lot of developers because it’s easy to understand. What is your opinion about jQuery?
Wießeckel: There are some different engines, V8 and JägerMonkey. What is your favourite?
Wießeckel: You mentioned Microsoft. There are some efforts from Microsoft regarding Windows 8 bringing web developers to the desktop. Is this a good approach?
Crockford: Probably (laughs).
Wießeckel: OK. But there are some restrictions like that you can’t use the built-in camera on the iPad. Are these the right restrictions?
It’s still not right, but it’s better than everything else. That seems to be a better place to start than any of the other things. Something that you see in other platforms is a “blame the victim” security model. We’ll ask the user a question that the user cannot possibly understand or answer correctly. And then when things go wrong it’s the user’s fault for having agreed to this. That’s not a security model, that’s just…stupid! The browser doesn’t do that. Now the price of that is that the browser is limited in some ways and we need to get smarter about how we reduce those limitations. But it seems to be the right way to start.
Wießeckel: There are some new competitors like Google Dart. Why?
Crockford: Still considered that.
Wießeckel: …by the consumer side.
Crockford: It was Ajax. In 2001, Gartner predicted that the web was about to die the same way that WAIS and Gopher had died. It was going to be replaced by the Ex-Internet and a lot of people believed them, including Microsoft. So Microsoft expanded the IE team and started working on the next internet, whatever this was going to be.
So they were really surprised in 2005 when Jesse James Garrett published the paper about Ajax. Suddenly Microsoft was blindsided by the web – the second time. And it has taken off since then. Probably it’s because of the security things that the browser got right. There is no scary dialog that faces the user when they get a web application. Nothing saying “do you trust these guys who you don’t know, who they are or will you get them these capabilities that you don’t know what they are?”
The web doesn’t do that, it just works. And that made it much easier to deliver applications than any other platform can do. I think that’s what caused it to take off. The other thing was that everything else failed. There were lots of attempts to try to capture the web or to replace the web. Adobe has made several attempts at that, as has Microsoft. Google is trying to do it now. And so far all those have failed. Java was supposed to rule the web. Java was a colossal failure. Java then tried to take over in consumer electronics and other places and it hasn’t worked very well either. In the phone platform, they have tried literally everything. They have tried proprietary things, they have tried to do open things, they have done the Java and it all failed.
Wießeckel: So the future from mobile is the web?
Crockford: Seems so. It’s not settled out yet, there is competition. The app stores are trying to capture the web, so there is a point of monopoly that all applications have to go through. Which is sort of counter to the web philosophy which is “everybody has an equal standing”.
Will that form win? Ultimately I think the open form wins just because people benefit from the freedom of having an application delivery system that can deliver applications from everybody. But there are forces who were trying to close it, including the DRM forces, so we will see how it plays out and will hope that it stays open.
Wießeckel: So Mozilla’s Boot To Gecko project [since renamed FirefoxOS] is the right attempt towards the mobile world/universe? Is this the next big thing?
Crockford: The thing that seems to be winning in the mobile space is WebKit. I don’t know why but it seems to be the thing that has been most adopted. Mozilla has done some very good stuff, WebKit has done some very good stuff. I‘m hoping that stays a competitive environment. I think it’s better that there not be one winner. So I hope that Mozilla can stay strong.
Wießeckel: So is there a chance that WebKit is the next EE6? Or EE5? Because everyone writes now developing for WebKit.
Crockford: One of the dilemmas of the Web is that it doesn’t come from a single company: it doesn’t come from Adobe, it doesn’t come from Microsoft, it doesn’t come from Sun or Oracle. Developers have to work with all the different variations of the platform, and the number of those seems to be growing rather than shrinking.
That is a hardship on developers, to the extent to that the W3C standards are inadequate. Seriously inadequate. That makes life more difficult for the developers. But I don’t want to go the other way and say “OK there’s just going to be one platform from now on” because having the diversity of platforms I think has been a healthy thing and it would be bad to lose that.
Wießeckel: Mr. Crockford, thank you very much.