How did we go from HTML to JQUERY, and why?

That was my take on it as well – which is why I tried to address the actual questions; Which I interpreted as “why use anything more than flat HTML” and “what good are these new technologies?”… which are legitimate questions with real answers.

… and you guys are all hitting it on the head; ANY technology can be mis-used, over-used and outright abused. MUCH of that can be blamed on a “ooh cool, gee ain’t it neat” attitude. The “I’ll buy anything if it’s shiny and has a Apple logo on it” mentality. What Mittineague pointed out is in many ways what todays stuff is the 2nd or third generation of.

1st generation: auto-playing midi, gif animations, gaudy colors, comic sans.

2nd generation: flash for EVERYTHING, from auto-playing music to stupid animated banners to inaccessible menus and bloated flash font replacements.

3rd generation: Javascript (and by extension jQuery) for EVERYTHING, from auto-playing music to stupid animated banners to inaccessible menus – then using CSS3 for illegible web font choices.

Same dance, it’s just a different tune. Changing the technology doesn’t make the result any less stupid than it was fifteen years ago.

Heh. No, I’m not attempting to troll, and the others are right. I do not dislike sitepoint at all. Rather, as another pointed out, I dislike the forum. Specifically vbulletin, for which I have two licenses myself. And one posted above is right. When I first got into forums years ago, I used discuss. It was odd, but it worked, and it was simple. VBull on the other hand is a pain in the **** to setup, configure and coughskincough. Honestly, who care how many posts one has made? Avatars? Really? Yes, I have one, but so what. I got tired of looking at the black space left where others had them. Pressure to use? Of course. I digress…

I think some of you are still missunderstanding my actual question of why?

I fully understand the need for css, and support it. But before I address javascript, let’s see why somebody might need it at all. If somebody were to want their UI to change dynamically, or communicate with a server asynchronously, that would be a need. But again, my question was why? In this case, why would anybody need this in a website?

In actuality, I understand even this. The though goes. “Oh we have a decent static website. But, I’d like to get sales that other companies might get first, by offering sales online, where they don’t.” To continue the thought, “Oh look, we already have a working transfer protocol, so let’s just piggy back on that.” Bingo, javascript (among other technologies is born).

The thing I don’t fully understand, and was my basic underlying question, was why humans feel the need to conglomerate things? We do it with business, we do it with the internet, we do it in with our console games, our handhelds, everything.

An old idiom, which I still live by is “do one thing, and do it well”. If you don’t, you’re going to end up with something overly complex and unmaintainable. In addition, you reduce the number of people/councils responsible for, and accountable for, these things. Often times, leadership is so limited that corruption sets in.(Yes, I’m a conspiracy theorist.)

This is something that’s been on my mind a lot recently. I’ve posed this same question elsewhere, not just here.

So again, why do we do it?

If technology didn’t evolve and change, it sure would be boring … :slight_smile:

Just because something worked well last week doesn’t mean it will work well next week. Much of this new web technology is why smartphones are so useful. I love all the new stuff that comes along, I just wish I could keep up with it all. Often I feel a real kinship with Alice and the Red Queen’s race (from Alice in Wonderland)

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."
"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

There are many parallels that can be made.


Why would I need fur coat when a wool one is good enough? Oh wait, why do I need a wool coat when an animal skins or from vegetation is good enough? Oh wait, do I need a coat at all if I stay indoors always?

The answer is you may not need one at all. That doesn’t mean this particular approach is the only vision and a good solution human kind can apply at a large scale. In fact, human kind express its self so divers that clothing style differs even from town street to town street.


Back to tech. A web page is a document. Well, a document means a text editor. Is it?

It could be. Again, less is more. But… less with style is even more.

And we see this everyday. Everyone has a point where it gets his own copy of a particular Office suite. And everyone does the same, always. It starts playing with every font, with every drop down color control, with every shape and produces odd things, odd enough to look at them and say: “man, it’s so ugly only its mother could love it”, right?


The same with web sites. Now, if that everyone where to use just text, we all would be unaware of their professional level. Asking for more than text from one helps asses in less words and less lies their true tech level.

One thing you can see real proof here, on SPF. There are some you’d see strongly and courageously agreeing and disagreeing on all topics, granted that someone else has posted an working solution first, they could ride the coattails on. But the moment they start producing by them self, you can measure their “level” to the micron just by looking at those odd things.


So, why don’t we use just text on web? See above. We don’t like to be confused with somebody else: type, style and message of the content we send across the Internet. CSS and Javascript make content and diversity go hand in hand. They allow you to “dress up”, put “make up” and add personality and professionality to your content. Often, you can tell a few things by a first look at one person. The same with a web page. It speaks volumes before one even starts reading the first phrase.

Most importantly, the written message you’re trying to send is a tedious one for the user and it’s an artificial one. Whereas, speaking in style (colors, shapes) exposing your version for user behavior (what’s your concept in user interaction) these can be understood even if the natural language the page is written in, it’s not quite to your understanding. It says who you are, what you can do, what you can manage to do, finally, what’s your compatibility with the one reading the page. It’s transmitting a more natural message.

Even more, text requires so little it levels up message transmitters across globe. What makes a user decide if you are serious with your message is the concern you have with how your things look to him. It’s the same as with an office. You could just use plain primitive tables with plain primitive chairs. Or you could take pride in your possibilities and add some better, more comfortable tables and chairs. And then some more: you’d add some personal signatures, paintings, aquariums, a beautiful secretary maybe! :slight_smile:


The answer is: because we can easily can. Here and now. Even from old scribes days, they did more than just put some text on their scrolls. They added all kinds of compelling stuff, hard to accomplish with the limited technology of their times, which required extremely hard work.

Why would we deny this, given the technology that we have today? Because we don’t act like one? Because we don’t all focus on just one single vision? Where’s the good in that? Even if we still act like a heard, there’s a time for every heard to move to greener pastures. Move from those arid text alone plains to a more enticing scenery. For the joy alone, if not for anything else.

I think you’re starting to grasp what I’m asking, but you’re going in reverse. For example:
The move from newspaper to radio was understandable. It meant a drastic reduction in our usage of trees.
The move from radio to TV was understandable. It meant we could use pictures too, and pictures speak a thousand words (though sometimes incorrectly).
The move from TV to HDTV was not as understable though. Do I really care if the definition is high enough to see somebody’s pores while they announce the news? What was the motivation for wasting all that money on research and development?

You were making sense up until this. Worst explanation for anything I think I’ve ever heard. I mean no offense by that. It’s just my opinion.

That’s OK. It’s good that we don’t all think alike. :slight_smile:

Your question has merits. Looking at the screen reader users, they could care less about style, shapes, images. They value good solid text info, content and direction.

It’s healthy to question before you do. And it’s also OK for the answer we get to be different. Our needs are so different it pays to respect each other opinions and learn from them. Evolution is in how we do things differently.


It’s a commercial application. It’s not all that it is to it. Details and clarity in video imagery pays also well in medical science. It helps notice things unnoticed in the sky and helps astronomer better understand the universe.

Greater picture is what we’re looking for. If this greater picture happens to be very detailed and very clear, I believe it makes it easier to understand.

And because we can. :slight_smile: It’s not all purpose, it’s also challenge.

It’s funny you mention screen readers. Back when I had a second machine, it was setup as a console only server. Even though I had access to IE and FF on my desktop machine, all I ever used was lynx. I guess there is no real answer to my question, and it depends heavily on how one thinks and what one considers an immediate need. I suppose this is all good and well, so long as they don’t stop making the simpler things for people like me.

Now that the thread has run it’s course, I’d like to step back a moment and give you all the initial reasoning to what got me to thinking about this in term of programming.

Take MVC as an example. On initial design, an application will have controllers and regular get/post actions. Then, on second pass, people add async handlers to make certain things less bandwidth intensive. Well, ok, sound reasoning, but now we have two sets of actions to maintain, even if they share similar calls to another service to do the actual work. We cannot cut out one set of handlers though. So in a lot of cases like this, these improvements just seem to add more headache than they solve. In addition, we have the notion of not only supporting multiple browsers (though a lot of this has gone away recently), but we have the concept of supporting mobile browsers now too. So on top of having mutiple css files and action handlers, we now have multiple html partials.

I have nothing against advancement or evolution of something, but we need to be smarter about how we go about it. At first, just adding JS on top of HTML was ok. But now, there are so many different things going on, that I would surmise that it is about time to scrap the heap and start over and develop something that includes all the above elements by default. For example, have DHTML and JS scripting built in to the HTML client libraries. If there are royalty issues, then rewrite it ourselves. Make it browser adaptable and localizable from the start. Imagine an async callback like the following:

<panel id="content">
<target id="content-main" fetch="fetch" refresh="refresh" />
<button id="fetch" label="Fetch" action="" authenticated="false" />
<button id="refresh" label="Refresh" action="" authenticated="false" />

If scripting is enabled, an async call is used. If not, a full request is sent and the new content for the target element is merged into the current display automatically. No need for external script files at all.

Anyway, it’s just a thought that’s been going through my head recently. Feel free to comment, or just let the thread die now.

I believe this thread summarizes very well the state of web developing.

It’s not about the underlying technology, it’s about manufacturers, vendors and developers being so dynamic. The underlying technology, stack protocols, html, css, js is very well designed. If it can go from desktops at 640x480 to mobiles at 640x480 it means it’s viable.


Manufacturers do their job and incorporate the latest technological advancements in their devices. If anything, we could blame them if they wouldn’t.

Vendors do their job and acknowledge new devices and compete in supporting this plethora of devices. They have an ingrate job, being in the middle and taking more blame from developers then manufacturers do.

Finally, developers have the most pressure upon. They have to pick up the pieces, manufacturer or vendor bugs, and make something solid for the… users. They often are blamed even if manufacturers and vendors could spend a little more time making their job easier.


All manufacturers, vendors, developers have one main target: the users. If developers are caught in this web of devices and UAs, it pays for them to have varied systems at hand, systems able enough to handle things.

These systems are not appearing but out of need to put some force behind the developer. Now, it depends on the developer and its task. “If he chooses to accept its mission” or not. But I’m afraid that there’s no middle ground, if you want to be involved you have to accept the reality. And the reality is that the internet it self makes it easier for the developer and its task.

The fact that you actually have MVC systems, Javascript libraries like jQuery, boillerplates and CSS grids, means you don’t have to spent the time to devise a system, you just have to spend some time to master, canibalise or consume them. The reverse is where all this free given and hard worked knowledge would be protected by IP, forcing you to do, by yourself, the work of other countless smart and benevolent developer heads. Taking more time than acceptable, with possible lesser results.


Even if developers would say: “We stop here and start from scratch”, the users would say “You incompetent, we want other developers to handle the progress while providing backward compatibility”.

Even if vendors would say: “We and developers stop here and start from scratch”, the users would say “I don’t care, some other vendors and some other developers would come forward to handle the progress while providing backward compatibility”.

Even if manufacturers would say: “No more new devices until vendors and developers and users are all agreeing”…

All this is not reality. It will never be. It’s time travel in reverse. One thing humans dislike most but want with all their entire being it were possible at times.

How did we go from HTML to … Javascript?

Simply because without javascript a lot of the experiences we want to achieve on the web aren’t possible, mostly responding to user interaction, communicating with the server.
It doesn’t sound like you’re building web applications so you might not have a great need for it yourself.

User interaction: links, forms.

Communicating with the server: we have a RESTful Web.

There’s no Javascript needed for that.

If you mean more advance UX, if you talk about AJAX, then yes, Javascript (and CSS, on UX) enhances on those. But it’s not essential, and that’s the questions the OP’s trying to get an answer to: why are those used if they’re not essential?

And my answer is: because we can. We wouldn’t be using them otherwise. Why? That’s easy: because it makes sense. We wouldn’t be using them otherwise.

It was a process of natural selection. CSS and Javascript are winners in this process of natural selection.

Well I wouldn’t say this was reason for developing radio and I’m sure people would’ve been questioning if they needed it then. The television was widely regarded as a needless technology when it was first implemented because you had to stop what you were doing and sit in front of it - you couldn’t do the housework at the same time.

We really don’t know the need of something until we need it. As good ol’ Jobsy would say “You can only connect the dots looking backwards.”

So maybe if you stopped asking ‘do we actually need it?’ (because the answer will always be no) and started asking ‘what could we use it for?’, than maybe you would get some answers.

Do we need HDTV? No. But what could it be used for? Closer viewing ranges, more detailed text and info, I’m sure there’s more. Especially video games are able to fit more textual information on the screen because of the clarity of small text. To be frank the resolution on an ordinary TV is awful.

So why do we conglomerate things? Well it’s hard to say, maybe curiosity is one reason. Improvement would be a better one. I think HDTV is objectively better than ordinary TV - you could argue economy but it cost just the same high price ordinary TVs 10 years ago - it wouldn’t be on sale if it wasn’t affordable. I also think the viewing experience of plain HTML is objectively worse than page rendered with CSS & Javascript (if done well). Sure it’s complex but so must our modern day computer seem to a guy working with vacuum tubes.

Back to the question “Why do we conglomerate things?”, it’s human nature isn’t it? Nothing is born of a vacuum and it’s the very nature by which ideas are born. It’s the same thing within us that caused us to combine the sharpened stone with the stick to create the spear, that caused us to combine the phone the touch screen and web browsing to create the iphone.

We’ll never to able to say if we need these things, but if we don’t I can assure you we wouldn’t be using them.

Very good answer! I’ll pass on your preaching when someone asks the same question.

[QUOTE=itmitică;5100987]User interaction: links, forms.

Communicating with the server: we have a RESTful Web.

There’s no Javascript needed for that.

If you mean more advance UX, if you talk about AJAX, then yes, Javascript (and CSS, on UX) enhances on those. But it’s not essential, and that’s the questions the OP’s trying to get an answer to: why are those used if they’re not essential?

And my answer is: because we can. We wouldn’t be using them otherwise. Why? That’s easy: because it makes sense. We wouldn’t be using them otherwise.

It was a process of natural selection. CSS and Javascript are winners in this process of natural selection.[/QUOTE]
I think you’re trying to be too smart for your own good here… I said “without javascript a lot of the experiences we want to achieve on the web aren’t possible” Javascript has many uses which make the experience better.

This is what one can read there:

For the user and the developer there is no strict Javascript dependency, be it interaction or server communication. Your phrasing seemed wrong to me. If it offended you, please accept my apologies.

Off Topic:

Care to explain the part about “my own good”? Sounds a bit out of place.


I remember the early days of HTML 3.2, weren’t the best of days, but there you have it!

We started out with basic HTML, basic incredible basic CSS (forget pure CSS layouts), and JavaScript (or Dynamic HTML). Custom scripts produced undesired solutions and many of of the websites contained JavaScript errors.

To remind you of those days, every other website has a JS error, not to mention errors on specific browsers. JavaScript was notoriously used for pop-ups and mass advertising campaigns, many users would become target of advertising pop-ups.

Anyhow, the web continued to evolve. JS is and was horribly hard to learn. I wrote a couple of custom scripts, but I’d rather not re-invent the wheel, and we can all agree that sometimes it’s best to do what’s easier.

The compact version of javascript was invented. jQuery, MooTools etc. This liberated us from custom scripting, and did most of the work for us. Only weighing 90k it’s hardly a huge website stopper.

I recently met somebody who decided to learn javascript instead of simply using jQuery. I admire his determination, but this person 3-years on is still learning javascript, and still does not know how to implement a simply jQuery slider. Sometimes it’s just easier to find tools to help us so that we can do our job without emcompassing on a herculian task. Much can be said about creating your own CMS from scratch.

The reason it become popular is not because it’s so awesome, but mainly because it make life easier, and in the end this is what counts for us, as you’d be hard pushed to get a client to pay for something you could quite easily do in a couple of hours with jQuery instead of custom scripting.

It’s not a sin to make your life easier.

It’s just a phrase, I didn’t mean anything other than that you were saying things that didn’t need to be said.
I was trying to put simply what Javascript’s strengths were and why they were used, I didn’t want to write an essay.