This tweet got me thinking.

November 16th 2009

Today James Padolsey posted something quite interesting on his Twitter account that got me thinking:

Wondering what the client-side would be like if there were multiple languages, not just JavaScript…

Not only it got me thinking, but it also scared me. The way it works now is, you download a browser, you deal with what technologies comes bundled with it. It may be CSS3, ECMAScript 5, HTML5, every browser support the standards they want to a certain extent. Some does it well, some suck at it (don’t think I need to drop names!).

If you take a look at the “back-end” side. Depending on the technologies you want to use, you just need to install the proper libraries on your server in order to feed it properly to the web browser. YOU decided what you feed and how you feed it. Every time a new programming language emerge, you can start using it and be sure that everyone coming to your website will be able to see it as long as your webserver is setup properly.

And that’s what so “complicated” with front-end. You just don’t know who will come on your website and what they’ll be using. You totally depend on browser penetration.

Why I got scared?

Remember netscape 4, the <layer> tag, IE6 just to name a few?

In the current state of things I don’t think it’d be a good thing to add another language.

In the past, and even today, we’ve often been held back by older browser. Not because they suck, I think they were perfectly fine for their time, but because people were slow to upgrade. It can be the IT department that don’t want to go through the pain of updating all the employees computers or the users that are not aware enough, the end result is still the same, we need to support them until they die.

However, I think that sometime soon browser vendors AND users will be saavy enough to understand it is important to keep their browser up-to-date. Then we’d be able to take advantage of a new emerging client-side programming language since the adoption would be fast and widespread enough for us to use it.

But until then…I’ll be scared

What’s your view on the subject?

51 Responses to “This tweet got me thinking.”

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