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Re: Shrinking existing libraries as a goal

From: John J Barton <johnjbarton@johnjbarton.com>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 10:37:15 -0700
Message-ID: <CAFAtnWx-SW2CfcpHvguq=0XLCe_eGQMQyY6VpsGqr8FnW8-Pgg@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.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 10:10 AM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> features*.
> #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! Fixing ergonomics of APIs has dramatically improved web
programming.  I'm convinced that concrete proposals vetted by major
library developers would be welcomed and have good traction. (Even
better would be a common shim library demonstrating the impact).

Measuring these changes by the numbers of bytes removed from downloads
seems 'nice to have' but should not be the goal IMO.


> * 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
> contortions".
> ~TJ
Received on Thursday, 17 May 2012 17:37:49 UTC

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