Why Javascript bores me

14 Jan12

Update: I feel that I should add to this post that working with node.js and socket.io has sort of changed my mood when it comes to Javascript. I'm having lots of fun doing JS stuff these days and even combining it with Flash and AIR.

Now this is going to sound cocky (sorry) but I need to get it off my chest - the thing I hate about the Flash vs HTML(5)/JS/CSS(3) debacle is that clients now expect you to be able to do everything you could in Flash using HTML. They also expect that everything will magically work well on mobile devices such as iPads and cheap Android phones. This is after all the very promise that Steve Jobs and other cool guys have sold them. The problem is - it’s not like that at all.

It’s really hard work to solve browser incompatibilities and code around lack of capabilities in mobile browsers. I don’t mind hard work but this really bores me - a lot. I hate patching something that really should have worked, but since somebody didn’t agree on how to solve it I’ll get to poke around half a day to look for an answer…? It’s much more fun to create stuff, isn’t it?

I don’t mind that Flash’s role is changing. It was inevitable and I too love to see cutting edge work done in HTML/JS/CSS like this brilliant site by Bret Victor or enfantsterrible by WeFail. I just don’t want to go 5 years back in time to the time before Flash Player 9 and Actionscript 3. I don’t mind Javascript at all, but it feels so totally inappropriate to try and build serious apps with it (like I do with Flash and Flex). I don’t want to work on projects where I constantly have to cut back on creativity just because something just isn’t possible (yet). Flash is a platform that does not limit what I can do, so to me this boils down to either having (what I think is) a boring job or finding something more enjoyable. Work takes up too much of my life for it to be boring…

AS3 is such a mature language and if you read up on the future of Javascript, you’ll find that JS5 will be the “patched but still untyped” version of JS. Future versions after that will become what ECMA 4 tried to be before Microsoft more or less killed the project. Flash’s programming language AS3 is what Javascript will become in the future. It probably won’t be exactly like, but it’ll be close. I think that I will look for other challenges while waiting for javascript to mature where working with it no longer bores me.

Others have taken a different route and gone with the flow to do with JS what they have already done with Flash and Flex. I have no need to do that. There’s so many other things to do than have a boring job. Today, João Saleiro posted a brilliant and thorough article that more or less sums up all of my frustrations with “the future” of web development. It’s lengthy, but it’s really worth it - especially if you come from the HTML/JS side. Most HTML5 “comment trolls” don’t know anything about Flash, Flex or AS3, so they have no clue what they are missing…

Sorry. HTML5/Javascript/CSS3 The hype really bore me and I’m already used to Living in the future. I won’t spend time on learning the fancy “flavor of the month” JS-library that may be dead a couple months from now. Instead, I currently enjoy learning about electronics and microcomputers while coding in C - a language that is older than me and still just as valid. And if I ever “have to” to build something big with Javascript, I’ll certainly use something like Haxe that can remove the pain and add some fun.

Further reading?

HTML5 in way more than 5 paragraphs

The Increasing Cost of Interactive Production

The World of Pain that is HTML5 Video

The open web needs you now

PS: I do a lot of HTML, JS, CSS and have done so ever since I started in this business 15 years ago. I also do PHP and EE CMS on a almost daily basis. I just don’t see the excitement in fighting against technology to make it do what have been done already. If being on the bleeding edge requires daily pain and fighting inadequacies/inconsistencies/incompatibilities, I’ll rather look for things more fun to do?


14 January 2012 at 6:55 pm

11 Responses to Why Javascript bores me

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    Michael Vestergaard 15 January 2012 at 11:20 am #

    This is exactly how I feel as well, good to hear I’m not alone :-)

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    Lejdi Koci 15 January 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Flex is our platform of choice for real life online business applications. We are very happy with it and we have done some pretty neat things with it that ccan not be done with any other alternative. (I`m not even considering JavaScript here). Flex will take another turn with the Apache foundation now involved. Adobe was doing it wrong…

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    CurtisCLaugh 15 January 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Agreed. There’s a lot of hype around HTML5 right now and it’s half baked at best. Seems like there are a lot of wheels being reinvented (js frameworks). Cutting edge/Bleeding edge just isn’t reliable. I need something proven. I need stability in my life ;) I’m sticking with Flash for awhile.

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    Shawn 15 January 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    Why not just kick ass in AIR? It’s funner doing mobile anyways, getting direct feedback from user’s and designing new UI conventions.

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    Jensa 15 January 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    @Shawn Sure. I’m still doing mobile apps with AIR, but now I’m working on combining that with different Arduino-projects that I’m playing with. Mighty fun!


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    polyGeek 15 January 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I feel exactly the same right down to moving more into electronics/Arduino. I’m just getting started but I see lots of fun and creative projects in my future. That’s what this is all about, right?

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    UncleVic 16 January 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Uh oh my language is better than yours and my daddy can beat up yours… Stop being bitter and come to terms that HTML5 is the future and flash becomes obsolete. JavaScript may bore you but it was neglected until recently whereas AS was constantly developed. I do HTML5 and JS 24/7 never did Flash and never will (Have no need for it). There is a massive shift to JavaScript so stop bitching about it and be constructive and build up on it like everyone else loving web business.

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    RazorX 17 January 2012 at 12:57 am #

    I’m still waiting for ANY of the world’s HTML5 zealots to show me a site that’s even half as good as a Flash site.

    The whole HTML5 marketing craze has only forced developers back into 1999 JavaScript coding. HTML5 has a few new tags, but really HTML5 is primarily about moving back to JavaScript with a new face -> jQuery.

    JavaScript was never meant to be used for building large applications, that’s why it sucks at it! JavaScript running in a browser is also a big security problem in each browser -> http://secunia.com/resources/factsheets/2011_browsers/ A lot of security issues could be avoided if JavaScript was turned OFF, oh… but then jQuery and almost every HTML5 site would cease to function!

    There’s still a huge development pie out there for Flash developers: AIR to iOS and Android applications, Flex with databases, Unity 3D to Flash for high-end game development, Unreal engine to Flash (coming soon), etc.

    It seems to be an easy prediction that 2012 will be the year Flash really shines in 3D apps and 3D games bursting all over the Web, while the HTML5 JavaStickers just sit there quietly in the sad little, dark corners of the Web… watching… and too awe-paralyzed to produce anything close in response.

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    Jonathan Dunlap 17 January 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Jensa, your article is almost verbatim of something I too wanted to blog about. You warmed my heart mentioning haXe as its a language of such power as its language is influenced by Flash and java/c# and contains great platform features. Aside from haXe, I would highly suggest checking out CofeeScript as it definitely makes JS coding less painful.
    For me, I’ve been looking at where the real “future” of development should be and experimenting with different concepts. For me, the future is pure strict function programming and languages like Haskell, erlang, and clojure are pioneering this concept. Visit my blog at jadbox.com if you like to read a new post of mine on this topic. :)

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    Lejdi Koci 19 January 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    @UncleVic You never developed in Flash/Flex as you say this is why you talk like that. We are not bitching around here. Have you ever developed something for an enterprise in Javascript/HTML..? What where the costs..? What was the software debt..? How many headaches did you have..? We are software developers, we make a living by coding. Of course we like the tools that allow us to be more productive in less time…HTML/JS is good for web pages and small stuff. IT CANNOT do what Flash/Flex CAN. Until the Future HTML5…

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    paranoio 26 January 2012 at 6:17 am #

    Exactly the same feeling here , i wont critizice JS html or css them but yea i feel like its going backwards and dont know why html code always looks ugly.

    Flash feels easy and natural to mee now but i guess is kind of scary with so much terms adobe has invented like “osmf” :S why not readyToUseVideoPlayer ?

    the beauty in flash is that your code works! design guys code works too ! this was specially true with as2 , but i also have the feeling that adobe has no soul and its all about the money .

    Have big spectations on Haxe too, code once and compile anywhere thats just beautiful !

    Hope some day open source rule the world again !