"A hate flower that blooms all year". Also, Space Egyptians.

James Mickens: To Wash It All Away:

A modern Web page is a catastrophe. It's like a scene from one of those apocalyptic medieval paintings that depicts what would happen if Galactus arrived: people are tumbling into fiery crevasses and lamenting various lamentable things and hanging from playground equipment that would not pass OSHA safety checks. This kind of stuff is exactly what you'll see if you look at the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in a modern Web page. Of course, no human can truly "look" at this content, because a Web page is now like V'Ger from the first "Star Trek" movie, a piece of technology that we once understood but can no longer fathom, a thrashing leviathan of code and markup written by people so untrustworthy that they're not even third parties, they're fifth parties who weren't even INVITED to the party, but who showed up anyways because the hippies got it right and free love or whatever. [...]

Describing why the Web is horrible is like describing why it's horrible to drown in an ocean composed of pufferfish that are pregnant with tiny Freddy Kruegers -- each detail is horrendous in isolation, but the aggregate sum is delightfully arranged into a hate flower that blooms all year. [...]

So, yes, it would be great if fixing your browser involved actions that were not semantically equivalent to voodoo. But, on the bright side, things could always be worse. For example, it would definitely be horrible if your browser's scripting language combined the prototype-based inheritance of Self, a quasi-functional aspect borrowed from LISP, a structured syntax adapted from C, and an aggressively asynchronous I/O model that requires elaborate callback chains that span multiple generations of hard-working Americans. OH NO I'VE JUST DESCRIBED JAVASCRIPT. What an unpleasant turn of events! People were begging for a combination of Self, LISP, and C in the same way that the denizens of Middle Earth were begging Saruman to breed Orcs and men to make Uruk-hai.

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8 Responses:

  1. Pavel Lishin says:

    So, basically, don’t use numbers in JavaScript, and if you absolutely have to use numbers, implement a software-level ALU. It’s slow, but it’s the only way to be sure.

    Brilliant.

  2. John says:

    "How will my product get orcs laid?"

  3. phuzz says:

    So Microsoft Research have access to some fine drugs then.

  4. David M.A. says:

    Mickens' essays are always a good time. Just the right level of anger at The Way Things Are.

  5. Perry says:

    This is pure wonderful.

  6. k3ninho says:

    Reminds me of a young emacs and ex-Lucid hacker I heard about, at the time he was putting some serious work into Netscape and ranting about the stupid new web bubble. Except I can't see this guy's code to work out if Mickens is all talk and no trousers.

  7. yabonn says:

    Say what you want about Saruman, but he made the furnaces run on time.

  8. Phil says:

    @markovmickens may be relevant to your "exterminate all rational thought" interests.