Tag Archives: javascript

Different Spokes

When Jeff Douglas from CloudSpokes contacted me last week to ask if I would be interested in being a guest on their Different Spokes show to talk about Cloud Foundry, help to review a book on node.js, and generally talk tech, I was delighted to be able to say “yes!”. I met Jeff back at Monktoberfest in October and I love the stuff the CloudSpokes team are doing around application challenges to build skills in different areas.

It turns out that these guys are spending a lot of time with Javascript lately and the brief was to review The Node Beginner Book. We did talk about it for a bit, but I probably talked too much earlier in the show because I was getting excited about all the cool stuff happening around Cloud Foundry lately 🙂

This was my first use of the Google+ Hangouts On Air feature, which allows content producers to publically stream the group chat to a YouTube account. I have to say that I was extremely impressed. We used the lower thirds feature from the Hangouts Toolbox plugin to do titles, and I’m sure there were a bunch of other handy add-on features we could have used to enhance the experience too.

It was great to be able to respond to viewer questions coming in via Twitter, and I’d like to thank my colleague Raja for his cool node app examples (don’t forget to check out nodelogger which uses the Cloud Foundry authentication features too). A shout-out to Brian McClain for bailing me out when I forgot the features of my own product, too…!

All-in-all, a really enjoyable discussion, and I’d love to take part in that show again sometime – smart guys! They’ve posted a nice recap post if you’d like to check them out.

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On Javascript frameworks

My PHP and MQTT post provoked a number of questions in the comments, via IM and on Twitter about why I chose Prototype over jQuery or Dojo (and I imagine there may be other choices too). I was also asked why I’m not using WebSphere sMash.

I have no particular affiliation or preference here. The simple and most honest answer is that I was looking for an easy way to make an Ajax call and the Prototype introduction made it sound really straightforward (which it is). I also wanted something compact, as I knew that in the long run this is going to be embedded into an iPhone webapp where (down)loading times will matter. I admit I’ve done absolutely zero analysis of the relative sizes of the three frameworks, but Prototype seemed OK, even though it could be smaller. [just checked, and prototype.js is marginally larger than jquery.js by a few bytes, not looked at dojo… but wow, OK, 90Kb is not so small!] Given that this is for an iPhone app I might be better looking at whether iUi offers what I need instead.

So I’m doing this partly for my own education – I’ve talked a lot about Ajax and Web 2.0 and stuff but have been away from web coding for a while. I may well try all three frameworks, and I’m interested in opinions. At the moment the only requirement is the ability to easily update an inline div in a page with the results of an HTTP POST call. I could probably hand-code the XMLHttpRequest call if I want to be super-compact about it, but Prototype seemed quick and convenient. I suppose on the Dojo side, I have a perception that it’s more about widgets and will take more of a mental jump for me to use. Thinking about it now, I assume it must have the core Ajax call stuff in there too, but again the Prototype sample just popped out at me and worked after a web search 🙂

As for the PHP vs sMash question – I have nothing against sMash / Project Zero, but I do have a small Ubuntu box which has PHP installed already, and I didn’t need to do much more to that (except get SAM added as a PHP module). Again, speed and convenience was pretty much the driver here.

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts. I have no axes to grind and I’m interested to learn!