Opinion-Site without Javascript

On another topic, I discoursed off-topic and was chastised; the suggestion was made to start a new topic, so here it is. In essence somebody mentioned some stuff to the effect that an “end user shouldn’t care what is or isn’t enabled” and that one cannot build a “nice and intuitive and interactive” site without JavaScript.

That last comment was like waving a red flag at a bull, so I figured I’d test it out. I bulled on over to Amazon after I disabled everything I could think of to disable. DOM storage, scripting, ActiveX, fonts download, etc… Amazon loaded just fine and presented itself nicely with all sorts of buying choices, all neatly ordered on the page. I ordered TurboTax; email confirmation arrived in my inbox within a few minutes. (I assume I’ll be receiving TurboTax since I checked the tracking number and it’ll be delivered tomorrow.) Granted there were some things missing, like suggestions of what I should buy. I don’t know, but that seems like a pretty good test of whether a website can function without scripting.

The problem with JavaScript is that anybody can make their fortune with web design. I don’t know their qualifications. They don’t even have to pony up the money for a compiler; they can just start typing. If I’m lucky, they took a course or more likely they just cut-pasted off some JavaScript repository on the web and came over to SitePoint for a little troubleshooting help, and then they want free-rein on my computers. Perhaps I’m too paranoid, but I paid for the computer, it’s mine, and if some JavaScript person screws it up I doubt they’ll be there wasting time fixing the problem (if I am even able to figure out who screwed up what.)

ok, I’m finished ranting.

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I agree that where possible sites should work without JavaScript.

I have turned off JavaScript in my browser on a number of sites where the JavaScript doesn’t work properly. Most of those sites work better without it.

There are some sites with well written JavaScript where the enhancements that JavaScript provides makes it worthwhile having it on for those sites - fortunately decent browsers allow you to turn it on and off on a site by site basis (and have the browser remember which one are allowed to run JavaScript and which ones not).

My main dislike of Discourse is that it becomes unusable with JavaScript off and there are a few things that don’t work in some browsers even with JavaScript on.

@AngC I’m not quite sure what your point is. Are you saying you wish JS wasn’t used at all on the web? That seems a bit extreme. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are tons of brilliant coders out there writing cutting-edge JS, so I’d say that’s a bit unfair. The people who write frameworks like jQuery, Ember etc. are obviously pretty brilliant people.

My one gripe with the JS community is how they are losing sight of web standards. I just heard an interview with one of the Ember.js creators, and he was scoffing angrily at people who complain about sites not working with JS off. That made me angry—because JS off is not the issue! He has buried his head in the sand and not considered the real issues with JS and progressive enhancement. He’s right that most people don’t have JS turned off, and I even agree to a point that programmers shouldn’t have to cater for people who choose this option. What the JS crowd fails to acknowledge properly is that JS is unreliable! It can fail, and often does. If the content is dependent on JS, that means that the whole site fails.

Take me for example: a modern computer, the latest browsers, and I can’t use Google+ at all, because it simply won’t load properly in my browsers, for whatever reason (even after replacing the hard drive, re-installing the browsers etc.) Facebook is very buggy for me, too, and mostly won’t load fully, and GMail is also flaky.

So the Ember creators et al. can scoff all they like, and protest that their code is brilliantly optimised for peak performance and all that, but unless they face up to the reality that JS is unreliable no matter what they do, they will be the enemy of web standards.

I love the way JS can enhance a web page. But progressive enhancement is such a beautiful principle, that it’s a shame to see it thrown away in the excitement of the JS revolution.

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I think it is important to make the distinction here between sites and apps. When we’re talking about websites whose primary purpose is providing some kind of content (I include online stores in this) then I totally agree that they should be written in such a way that they degrade gracefully and still work without JS. On the other hand, with applications (such as Trello, for example) I don’t see a problem in requiring JS to use them, in the same way that desktop software comes with certain requirements your system has to meet if you want to use it.

That’s really odd - although I don’t use Google+, I do use GMail and Facebook daily, and I very rarely have problems with either (and even then, it’s usually due to connectivity problems). I’ve never had any reason to believe that JS itself is inherently unreliable - sure, you can write buggy code with it, as in any language - but if the code is properly written then there shouldn’t be reliability issues.

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It can be pretty hard to cover all bases in that regard. Jeremy Keith was pointing out recently how the Google page for downloading Chrome recently got a JS error in it, and for a significant period of time no-one in the world could download Chrome. The JS functionality in that case was totally unnecessary—but they’d set it up so that the download button depended on it. #fail

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How can a JavaScript coder screw up your computer?
I don’t understand.

I take your point entirely, but like it or not, JavaScript has become so ubiquitous, it is here to stay.

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@AngC

The problem with JavaScript is that anybody can make their fortune with web design. I don’t know their qualifications. They don’t even have to pony up the money for a compiler; they can just start typing.

Are you saying there are no two-bit HTML coders out there who just read a guide and started writing? That seems… ludicrous? There’s probably far more of those than JavaScript ones. Or people who exclusively use builders and graphical construction tools but don’t know almost any code. Definitely not a JavaScript unique problem.

@fretburner

I think it is important to make the distinction here between sites and apps. When we’re talking about websites whose primary purpose is providing some kind of content (I include online stores in this) then I totally agree that they should be written in such a way that they degrade gracefully and still work without JS.

I think that you’re right, a distinction is needed. However, we also have to remember that, even though in the Internet age, we’re used to getting what we want, that the owners of any app (or site, or whatever) are the ones who make the call on what they do and don’t want to support. Will they lose business if they make particular decisions? Of course they will. But we can’t presume to know their business better than they. If I, for example, use NoScript and run with JS primarily off, and it turns non-JS users are .001% of their user base, maybe they will stop paying their developers tons of money to cater to that .001% - and I just have to accept that, even if frustrated by it. It’s all a ROI sort of thing in the end, or it can be. If I’m a company with near unlimited resources, perhaps, then I think there’s little excuse to not have graceful degradation, old-browser support, and all sorts of other edge case sort of stuff - why not? But when you’re limited on resources, you make the decision that is best for you.

Developers of applications don’t owe the world anything.

@ralphm

Take me for example: a modern computer, the latest browsers, and I can’t use Google+ at all, because it simply won’t load properly in my browsers, for whatever reason (even after replacing the hard drive, re-installing the browsers etc.) Facebook is very buggy for me, too, and mostly won’t load fully, and GMail is also flaky.

That’s interesting, and probably an issue meriting some troubleshooting. Forgive me, but I’d be pretty unwilling to blame JavaScript, itself, for that… perhaps the programmers, or more likely, something on your end? I’ve never had any problems with any of those on any of the old or modern computers I’ve used, save if they had crummy internet connections and just loaded slowly, but nothing major and never for more than the normal occasional failure to load a page once a blue moon or whatnot.

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Every compiler I know of is free.

This is not possible with JavaScript. Browsers have security measures that do not allow JS to do anything harmful to a user’s computer. If something harmful happens, it’s because you downloaded and installed something. Malicious vendors don’t need JS for that. I’m sure they are perfectly happy building in pure HTML/CSS.

Java Applets on the other hand can be extrmeley harmful and should be disabled and avoided at all costs.

Java and JavaScript are entirely different technologies who share almost no similarities and are about as far apart as 2 C-style languages can be.

Where can I get a free C-sharp compiler?

http://www.mono-project.com/docs/about-mono/languages/csharp/

and
https://roslyn.codeplex.com/ (Microsoft based)

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Also apparently here.

Google appears to have a hundred.

You probably had MS products in mind when you made that request though.

AFAIK, the CLI one has always been free:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms379563(VS.80).aspx

October 2004

You can also get free versions of Visual Studio, if you want the full IDE under Visual Studio Express. These have been around for years (at least since 2005 that I know of). If you have a student email address, you can get the Visual Studio Professional Editions free on Dreamspark.

And as @cpradio sorta mentioned the next version of .NET and the Compilers will be open source.

I actually do know of proprietary and enterprise compilers that do cost money, but that’s sorta irrelevant here since they are for other purposes.


Even if all of this cost several hundred dollars to obtain, including stuff like the GCC. Living under the premise that this would stop anyone from creating malicious software is silly when you can go download any piece of software, game, movie, or song ever made in a few minutes.

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I’ve also heard rumors that Visual Studio (IDE) is heading towards open source to some extent too and will become “free”. I’m not sure how true that information is yet though.

Edit:
Found it!
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/somasegar/archive/2014/11/12/opening-up-visual-studio-and-net-to-every-developer-any-application-net-server-core-open-source-and-cross-platform-visual-studio-community-2013-and-preview-of-visual-studio-2015-and-net-2015.aspx

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I’ve heard from someone I trust that Microsoft is actually attempting to go completely Opensource. Bit hard for me to believe but he’s talked to Microsoft people about it.

Yeah, that is exactly what I’ve heard, and its a smart decision. I think they want to get into “providing enterprise support” again and not the “development process”.

Pretty much, they want those who love .NET to contribute to the IDE, the platform, etc. (which is free development cost for them).

I’m curious how this will all work out, as it will either make or break .NET (potentially).

I doubt they will go completely open source. Open sourcing stuff like their Office Suite or OS would be insane.

But as far their developer stuff goes, yes they are.

http://news.microsoft.com/2014/11/12/microsoft-takes-net-open-source-and-cross-platform-adds-new-development-capabilities-with-visual-studio-2015-net-2015-and-visual-studio-online/

What I’ve heard is that this will also make Windows somewhat more or less like Linux in the sense that you can view the source.

I haven’t heard that. Not sure I agree with them going that far… I don’t see it benefiting them to the degree that .NET and their development tools going open source.

Yeah I don’t see how they would make any money if they made Windows opensource. Or rather, if EVERYTHING was opensource, there’s nothing to pay for.

Met the guy at a hackathon…was a smart dude; I believe he’s going to the phillygivecamp hackathon this weekend, maybe I can get some clarification then.

Just sounds like a rumor, man. Probably based on a misunderstanding or over by reading the words “Microsoft … Open Source … Github”.

Millions of them on the internet.