PPK, writer of QuirksMode, has a panel proposal in at SxSW I wanted to point out to those of you attending. PPK is well known in the JavaScript circles and someone I respect for his good, commonsense approach to web page development–particularly with JavaScript. Yes, I am pointing you to a competitor, because he’s worth being pointed to and his sessions sounds to be one of the more interesting at SxSW.

My panel will not be technical. Instead, I’d like to address some of the social issues that face JavaScript nowadays, issues I also touched on in my JavaScript and “serious” programmers entry. Not entirely coincidentally, this entry has about the highest overall comment quality on the QuirksBlog, which means (I suppose) that people are truly interested in the subject. In turn, that means the panel could prove to be quite interesting.

It’s not easy finding the proposal when using Firefox on the Mac, because something in the panel picker causes the browser to crash if you try to expand the list. Unfortunately, there’s also no title search (which I guess demonstrates that maybe the SxSW people should consider going to this session.) Frankly, it’s not easy finding it with any browser–the interface really sucks. But I persevered and found the following:

Now that JavaScript is in fashion again, we’re facing a few non-technical issues that may be more important than the technical ones. There are two ways of writing JavaScript: the client side and the server side way. They focus on different things: application development vs. CSS/accessibility, respectively. Is one of the two clearly “right”, or is there place for both? What’s going to happen once the Ajax hype folds?

PPK lists out a set of issues related to today’s use of JavaScript/Ajax, in particular the approach the application developer takes as compared to the web developer. Among some of the issues:

The web developers’ strong points are good knowledge of accessibility, HTML and CSS, as well as immersion in the ideas of the CSS revolution. Their weak points are sloppy spaghetti-coding and a general lack of knowledge about application design.

The application developers’ strong points are strict coding practices and lots of knowledge about application design. Their weak points are a total disinterest in accessibility and sloppy HTML coding practices.

This is a discussion I’ve indulged in at my site, in particular, this new breed of JavaScript developer who is completely indifferent to standards and accessibility. I’d like to think two decades of development and a comp sci degree doesn’t mean I’m on the other spaghetti coding side, but there are people who have come to JS through the web page design who aren’t familiar with good coding practices. Chances are they’ll never become aware, because the application developers tend to be cryptic, as well as being a tad over-engineering.

This promises to be an interesting panel. If you’re going, find it and click the “Pick Me” associated with the proposal.

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