Archive for category WebApp Developer toolbox

Monolinguistic development

Speaking you mother tongue is undoubtedly much easier than speaking any foreign language. But is speaking 5 foreign languages harder than speaking just one of them?

When developing a Java based web application it turns out that apart from Java you have to use some sort of SQL to obtain the data, some XML to define your build system and perhaps even some essential elements of the application (like Spring beans), and of course a mixture of HTML and JavaScript to code a rich user interface. Not surprisingly, there are many developers who claim that this sucks (see for example). They are probably right.

I got really excited when I first saw GWT. Guys at Google have done a damn good job providing a Java-to-JavaScript compiler. I could finally make my apps speak one language (with a small exception for maven’s pom.xml). The Criteria API offered by JPA and GWT for the user interface made it finally possible. I was even thinking of writing an extension to maven polyglot to teach it how to speak Java.

I’m much more sceptical about the idea today, however. The March 2012 issue of the Technology Radar by ThoughtWorks put GWT on hold. They somehow believe it’d be better to replace Java with JavaScript on the server side than to do it the other way round (Node.js by the way seems to be ascending on their pictures) . Though, I don’t think it’s really important that Java is inferior/superior (choose one according to your preferences) to JavaScript. The real question is if any multi-purpose language can beat two problem specific languages when performing two distinct tasks. I’d say, it’d be pretty hard.

Pure Java is just not good to code a user interface – those who used Swing know perfectly than things get messy at some stage. And no matter how good your imagination is, modelling a view with an xhtml tool is a much more intuitive task than any imperative based solution.

‘I love you’ in Klingon just doesn’t sound good.



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Javascript: the very worst part

It constantly happens to me that the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. I’m probably not the first one, though.

Anyhow, I knew from the very beginning I didn’t know much on JavaScript. This however didn’t stop me from using it. I didn’t even stop me from getting things working with JavaScript. Then some time ago I came across this talk JavaScript: The Good Parts. I realized I perfectly match the description of a JavaScript programmer given by Douglas Crockford at the beginning of the talk. So, taking advantage of some free time I had this Christmas I decided to fix my JavaScript knowledge…

I definitely recommend learning JavaScript properly to every web application developer who hasn’t done so yet (including those using GWT).

During my recent studies on JavaScript I found my candidate for its worst part: the name. Naming JavaScript JavaScript was like painting concrete green to make it look like grass. Concrete is not grass and it should not pretend to be grass. Concrete has its great parts and being grass is not one of them. And so does JavaScript… it does have great parts. Resembling Java is not one them, however.


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