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Playing With JavaScript

Wednesday, December 27, 1995 by Dave Winer.

Good Afternoon!

This is a geeky communique, so if you don't speak geek, or don't care, then there's no need to read further.

I've been playing with JavaScript in the new 2.0b4 release of Netscape's browser. I read the docs, wrote my code, flipped the switch, tried things out, tweaked things up, and moved on. Things just worked. I got the browser to say Hello World. A dialog box that says Hello World. I did a multiplication table. Took a few wrong turns, but that's OK, it's part of the fun of exploring something new.

Along the way I learned how they report syntax errors (it's interesting) and found some holes and a few crashes. Nothing unusual. After a while things got realllly crashy. I never figured out why. It's OK now, or so it seems.

Looking thru the JavaScript verb set, it's clear that we're paying a major price for security. Yes, they clearly have a scripting language runtime in this thing. It's a nice one. Yes, it's safe. But what can we do with the language? Data validation for sure. What else? Let me know.

To be clear, JavaScript is not Java. It's related to Java, it's the "light" version, intended to be usable by people who author HTML. Java is stronger stuff than JavaScript. So if you do HTML, you might want to View Source on some of these pages to see how it's done. I think many people who code in HTML will understand this stuff.

So here are the pointers...

You can check out my current set of JavaScript sample scripts at:

I expect to add more as time permits, and as other opportunities become apparent. I've also added a discussion area for JavaScript in my BBS at:

It's message #85; it's in the Website Authoring section.

I've also started writing a table of useful Frontier scripts for working with JavaScript, at clay.data.macros.javaScript. It's in the database at www.scripting.com.

Still digging!

Dave Winer

PS: In my last piece I incorrectly attributed the term White Boy Welfare to Denise Caruso. Actually Cathy Cook, cvcook@well.com, coined this excellent phrase. My apologies to both Cathy and Denise.

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."