About

I’ve been using the Web since around 1992.¬† So I understand the culture, and I have a good grasp of strategies for building brand and community¬† online.¬† I’m interested not just in Web technology, but in the social trends that drive the Web.

My current macro-level interests include Folksonomies, Long Tails and Microcontent.

Why “100 Years of JavaScript?”

The subtitle of this blog is an oblique allusion to an idea I first heard articulated in 2007, when Ralph linked me the text of an interview with Richard Gabriel. I think Gabriel expresses this concept best in a paper titled Lessons from the Science of Nothing At All:

…software creation doesn’t get the benefit of reality and 3-dimensional space. What does this mean? When you’re designing a real product, you have centuries of experience with the world and real artifacts to base your designs on. Designing a new hand tool? - 60 centuries of experience, has to fit human hands, has to accomodate human motion. Does it cut? Done that. Does it fasten? Done that. Does it make holes? Done that. Designing a new telephone? Two or three generations of experience there. New door? Has to open and close, has to be big enough to let what’s to move through, move through. New stove - people have been cooking for hundreds of centuries.

But, consider the first people to design and build a text editor…

For products in the real world, you have already had the decades, centuries, and millennia to go through this iterative process, and we software guys have had 50 years total.

…we are creating things which have never been created before, and we have no idea how people will use them, what they will find hard, what they will find confusing, and the process of writing software is so arduous, time-consuming, and money-intensive, that we have not yet been able to try enough experiments to know the answers to those questions.

So we can imagine “100 years of programming,” but we don’t know yet what that would look like. Start imagining what JavaScript will look like in 90 years, and suddenly you’ve left the field of Web Dev and started writing Hard Science Fiction. That’s pretty cool.

And of course, One Hundred Years of JavaScript is also a word-play on the title of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novel of magical realism and cultural upheaval (sound familiar?) One Hundred Years of Solitude.