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Re: Shrinking existing libraries as a goal

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:10:50 -0700
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDCpptY7pHeRVF3VbJcP=_9y25THLrV9MB=+nc5AUC=vrw@mail.gmail.com>
To: John J Barton <johnjbarton@johnjbarton.com>
Cc: Rick Waldron <waldron.rick@gmail.com>, Scott González <scott.gonzalez@gmail.com>, Arthur Barstow <art.barstow@nokia.com>, ext Ojan Vafai <ojan@chromium.org>, Yehuda Katz <wycats@gmail.com>, public-webapps@w3.org, public-scriptlib@w3.org
On Thu, May 17, 2012 at 9:56 AM, John J Barton
<johnjbarton@johnjbarton.com> wrote:
> On Thu, May 17, 2012 at 9:29 AM, Rick Waldron <waldron.rick@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Consider the cowpath metaphor - web developers have made highways out of
>> sticks, grass and mud - what we need is someone to pour the concrete.
> I'm confused. Is the goal shorter load times (Yehuda) or better
> developer ergonomics (Waldron)?
> Of course *some* choices may do both. Some may not.

Libraries generally do three things: (1) patch over browser
inconsistencies, (2) fix bad ergonomics in APIs, and (3) add new

#1 is just background noise; we can't do anything except write good
specs, patch our browsers, and migrate users.

#3 is the normal mode of operations here.  I'm sure there are plenty
of features currently done purely in libraries that would benefit from
being proposed here, like Promises, but I don't think we need to push
too hard on this case.  It'll open itself up on its own, more or less.
 Still, something to pay attention to.

#2 is the kicker, and I believe what Yehuda is mostly talking about.
There's a *lot* of code in libraries which offers no new features,
only a vastly more convenient syntax for existing features.  This is a
large part of the reason why jQuery got so popular.  Fixing this both
makes the web easier to program for and reduces library weight.

* Yes, #3 is basically a subset of #2 since libraries aren't rewriting
the JS engine, but there's a line you can draw between "here's an
existing feature, but with better syntax" and "here's a fundamentally
new idea, which you could do before but only with extreme

Received on Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:11:47 UTC

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