Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Web: Best Anti-Web Rant

My buddy Mike left a comment on one of my previous posts, UNIX vs. the Web. I'm going to quote the whole thing:
It's hopeless.

It's too easy to throw something together, which "sortta" works, but has no conceptual integrity.

I think another problem is that Open Sores software is, by definition, AT BEST, a Beta, more typically an Alpha. So, it should not be surprising if the quality is, ahh, not as high as it might be.

Like most stuff that gets buzz, Django "sortta" works. Works well enough that it has a user base.

I keep waiting for the Grand Unification of Pylons and Gears - maybe soon enough...

In the meantime, as I suffer with JavaScript, CSS, DHTML, the DOM, XML, and all that _shit_ - well, I'm ready to have heated discussions with every Netscape employee who had anything to do with this disaster.

I'm tempted to blame the Stanfords, CMUs, and MITs for this current mess, because they didn't step up and produce leadership - (CLEARLY, none of their students or graduates were involved in this web disaster!).

So we are forced to deal with the poop of The Inexperienced - and that is NEVER fun!

If people had their wits about them when web standards were being solidified, they would have chosen Lisp as the browser's language, and they would have chosen S-expressions instead of XML/JSON (and, by default, a UNIFIED DOM - what a concept!)

It's enough to make me heave... Something as simple as looking up something in a database, re-formatting into JSON, and getting the client to actually receive it so it can display it requires an absolutely humongous amount of code/servers/etc - just for that!

The Web standards feel like they've been invented by high school students on crack - certainly, no Adult Supervision was involved.

The other thing Web Standards do is help foster the Web Programmer's Full Employment Program - because so much of what a Web developer has to do is deal with trivial mind-numbing bullshit.

The other thing is that the most trivial of applications seem to need these _huge_ Systems Approaches - it's like, nobody ever heard about how to build small, efficient, quickly-written systems.

Apparently, while I was building h/w in the 90s and early part of the 2000s, the s/w world went to hell, and I wasn't paying enough attention to save it. I _deeply_ apologize.

That's the most entertaining thing I've read all week ;)

BTW, Mike has a PDP 11 at his house, which qualifies him as my hero ;)


Cory said...

The only thing worth commenting on here is "_Huge_ Sytems approaches". Sorry, but the web is a huge system. Any application on it that expects to receive any noticeable percentage of the world's webtraffic needs to be similarly huge. No app worth writing is so simple that it can't be brought to its knees by an Internet's worth of traffic.

There are very simple web apps. I can write a database-backed web app in a single screenful of code, for a sufficiently simple application and sufficiently robust framework. But it still won't stand up to the Internet. (For that, maybe I need 2-3 screenfuls.)

Noah Gift said...

That was a good rant :) Software development is new, and the web is even newer. No person has the answers it is too new, and as such, no framework has the answer.

Maybe a framework can be helpful for a certain task like design a Newspaper like content management system, but if you believe in the creators "master philosophy" solves all problems, shame on you for falling for the marketing bullshit.

One of my favorite books is "If you meet Buddha on the road...kill him.", by Sheldon Kopp. This saying isn't unique to the books title though, it means the true answer lies within. Unfortunately there is no shortcut to being a good developer, web or otherwise, it requires learning and not taking the tempting shortcuts frameworks offer.

I can only add I have no idea what the answer is, but it isn't THAT :)

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> But it still won't stand up to the Internet. (For that, maybe I need 2-3 screenfuls.)

Have you ever considered the scalability of "ls"? It's used all over the world, millions of times an hour, and it scales just fine.

I'm being playful, of course. "ls" is an application that runs on your own hardware. That means it scales very well. There's no shared data to worry about. Clearly, most Web applications aren't like that.

That's my point. I'm not saying I can fix it. I'm just saying I miss the days where you could write apps like "ls" that did one thing, did it well, and ran on your own dang hardware ;)

Kartik Agaram said...

:) Worse is better. 'nuff said.

Shannon -jj Behrens said...

> :) Worse is better. 'nuff said.

Yep, and like I said in UNIX vs. the Web, apparently much worse is also much better ;)

Anonymous said...

Data entry validation: do it in JavaScript then do the same thing again on the server. I want a framework were I define the data validation once and have the framework generate all the duplicate logic on client and server side.

Browser incompatibilities: a particular version of a browser will fail because feature x just happens to work differently.

During the old client/server days I could assume the client was setup in a certain way and would be sending correct data. No longer.