JavaScript Writing

New Year

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I just posted a note at Mad Techie Woman about an error in the Learning JavaScript book I could kick myself for. It has to do with quirks mode, and the fact that browsers interpret an XHTML document as HTML when served with an .htm extension, and the fact that I used document.write as a way of doing a quick print out of a JS example. Sure it works now, but it’s a bad habit to get into and I shouldn’t have done so.

Some people might think it’s easy to write on JavaScript because it’s not a ‘real’ language, but it’s actually the opposite: an extremely difficult language to write about because the environment that surrounds it is in a constant state of flux. People use old browsers, new browsers, old markup, new markup, old styling, new CSS, and so on. When you’re writing on C++ or Java, there is a minimum level of compliance that must be met or the damn language just doesn’t work.

Not with JavaScript, oh no, siree. You can do almost anything and it will work with most browsers, as they labor mightily to ensure applications, old and new, work. Rightfully so, but as in the case of my “document.write”, you can get in a habit of using an easy and simple (and ubiquitous) piece of code, and it is not Right, or Best Practice, and when you realize what you’ve done (after the book is published, of course), you kick yourself ten ways to Sunday for Being So Stupid.

It’s lovely being an author with its constant reminders of how dumb you are. Or being a tech with the constant reminders of how much smarter that 18 year old is then you. It’s only followed by being a photographer whose work is received with silence, or a weblogger subject to so many variations of sneers and disdain that upon presenting ourselves as such, should be immediate grounds for a poor dear, at least. What is a weblogWhat is a weblog? It’s toilet paper. It’s the toilet paper we use to blot our blood, our tears, the sweat of our work, the grime of our living, the dirt of our dishing, and to fold into pretty swans when all is well (though don’t try to float these swams because they’re not meant to last).

You have to question the mental health of anyone who not only does any one of these acts, but does all four. And doesn’t get paid for two, and isn’t especially rolling in dough for the third and fourth (that 18 year old, you know).

That is the life of a writer of tech books, which is why most people only do one and then run, screaming. Why don’t I just place my head in the path of a truck, rather than go through the pain in dribbles and dabs. I’d made the news, then (“It sounded just like a ripe watermelon…”).

But this is about the New Year, not being an author or the pain of a thousand words we want to take back. I started to write a New Year post and got as far as the following:

I’ve been trying to come up with a last post for the end of the year, something positive and hopeful, but it seems like I keep putting up stories of anger or sadness.

I think that rather than being well informed via the internet, the constant stream of news batters at you until you eventually either give into the despair, or become completely indifferent. Years ago, when we got our news from the newspaper or the evening news, we had a chance to discuss the news, with friends, co-workers, family, before getting fed the next burst. Now, our friends are just as likely to be the source of the news as Fox or CBS, and we don’t talk as much as we broadcast at each other. It’s overwhelming.

I realized that rather than sounding optimistic or upbeat, I come across as hanging lower than a slug’s belly, and feeling about as oogie. Oogie. Yes, that is a word. It’s a beautiful word. I am an author and I can decree what is a word, and what is a beautiful word, and make it so in print. I’ve done so frequently.

Where was I? Slug’s belly. No one has an ‘excuse’ for being low, but I have traipsed legitimate steps down into the murky waters of Feeling Kinda Shitty, so I feel vindicated for my lowness, if not necessarily excused for same (“…people being excused as in, ‘there are people in the world who are tortured, imprisoned, forced to work at Google, who is now fashionably evil’, yada yada…”)

I worry and fret over every error in “Learning JavaScript”, have become obsessive with trying to ensure absolutely no error in “Adding Ajax”–a task that’s as impossible as it is imperative, because the Ajaxian world is not a tolerant world–and I’m facing a possible court battle against this country’s largest arbitration forum, without any legal help other than advice from Smart People (most of whom can’t recommend I take the action I’m planning because though it may end up helping lots of people in the end, it could end up costing me everything if the gamble fails).

Some people want a free computer from Microsoft; I’d settle for a good night’s sleep. Oh, and perky breasts again, which is as likely as getting anything truly free from Microsoft, or any other Big Corporation. (Free as in, ‘no strings attached’, which could, in an odd way, be used to describe my breasts).

Yet, yet, for all this doom and gloom (and “My God, Shelley, why do these things happen to you? Don’t you realize that weblogging is reserved for good times, marketing, or bleeding The Right Way; flowing gushily and with exquisite pain–not your tawdry drip drip, drip after inexorable drip: cut the vein, put yourself out of misery”)…I digress, yet for all this doom and gloom I wake, I eat, I pet my kitty, I walk in the sun, I correct the errors, I kick at the box I find myself in, I sneer as I’m sneered at in turn–I continue, because that’s what people do, you know; we continue. We’re all bleeding, and we trail metaphorical gore behind us, but we continue. To quote the good folks of Firefly, “That makes us mighty”.

So, from one of the Mighty to the rest of the Mighty, Happy New Year.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email