Technology

Javascript back in the game

I remember when folks were talking about the demise of Javascript. Many browsers will allow you to block it’s settings due to malicious scripts. However, Javascript is now back on the rise. For non-techies… There are two means of website programming working: Server-side and Client-side. An example of server-side scripting is when you submit your order, your information is posted to the server, and then a new page comes up that is produced by the server. An example of a client-side script is when you click submit and get an instant error message that you didn’t enter valid information.

PHP and VBScript are examples of Server-side languages. Javascript is a Client-side script. With the advent of XML, Javascript has some new life to it. Javascript can communicate directly with the server without requiring the server to post a new page. The client and server can now communicate to each other simply utilizing XML.

For a long time, the software industry was split between the Software crowd and the Application Service Provider crowd. Software loads and runs locally on your PC/MAC. ASP is software that runs on the server and you interact via a browser. The advantage of the ASP is that they can roll out corrections and new features without you having to install anything locally. The downside was that the browser-based software was severely limited because of client-side programming and browser limitations.

Javascript’s ability to communicate via XML changes the playing board, though!!! By being able to communicate with the server and still run in the browser, you can now design very complex applications that will rival desktop software. And, you will have all the benefit of running that software from the provider’s server… allowing fixes and features to be regularly released. Javascript is also supported across browsers, so use what you like!

Some great examples: Check out the drag and drop work on this site.
Do you like MS Word? There are some incredible editors out there on the web. Here’s one.

It won’t be long before Application Service Providers will begin to take over. I can envision the day when you rent Microsoft Office for $9.95 a month rather than paying a few hundred for each license.

One comment

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    @Douglas: “PHP and VBScript are examples of Server-side languages.”

    That’s actually not technically true about VBScript. What would be more true would be to say “VBScript is an example of a scripting language that has been used mostly on the Server-side as the primary language for Microsoft’s ASP even though it can be used as a client-side scripting language in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

    You could go on to say “There are several reasons why VBScript has not been widely accepted as a client-side scripting language with the most important being that it didn’t work in Netscape’s Navigator back in client-side scripting’s formative years, and also doesn’t work in FireFox, Safari, or Opera now. Another important reason by Javascript trumped VBScript for the lead on the client is because VBScript is a much less powerful language than Javascript.

    Yes, it is a mouthful and I could have wordsmithed it down, but given the context, why go to the effort? 🙂

    P.S. I have over 10 years experience programming in VBScript, and am just now really starting to learn Javascript in earnest, so for me to say the latter is more powerful is telling…

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