Javascript, the ginger-haired stepchild of the language family

Redhead

Photo by Gold Sardine

Liz asked me yesterday what language Mailana is written in. It took me a while to think about it, but the list is C (low-level Exchange interfacing), C++ (speed-critical string processing), C# (Outlook plugin), PHP (most of the server architecture), SQL (database querying), Actionscript (Flash components) and Javascript (rich Ajaxesque browser functionality). It got me wondering why the latter gets so little credit, out of all of them it's probably my favorite to use.

I found Douglas Crawford's explanations of why it's the world's most popular, and misunderstood language rang very true, but what really caught my eye were some demos written as pure scripts:

http://www.monstropolis.org/intro8.html
http://www.monstropolis.org/intro1.html
http://www.monstropolis.org/intro3.html
http://www.monstropolis.org/intro7.html
http://www.uselesspickles.com/triangles/demo.html (There's something deeply twisted about rendering 3D triangles using CSS style tricks, but I just can't look away)

I don't know when Javascript will be welcome in polite society, but dismiss it at your peril. It's now everywhere and there's a whole generation of self-taught programmers headed your way who know nothing else.

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