Long day's Dojo into AJAX
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Spent the whole day working on Dojo widgets... seems I spend almost every day these past few months working on Dojo widgets. The Dijits (as they call them) are far more robust than the per-page custom-coded stuff that I'm replacing, and we're winding up with a fairly generic collection of "things" from which we can build new pages.
The Dijits are all Ajax based (actually Json queries), of course. They talk to TurboGears/SQLAlchemy on the back-end via xhrGet/xhrPost queries. Basically I spend all day writing Ajax applications.
Which is why it was amusing when Soni mentioned that the IEEE was going to have a lecture on how to write AJAX applications. I'm so close to Dojo these days that it doesn't even occur to me to mention that it's "AJAX". What on earth would someone find to say about how to program AJAX for an hour-long lecture? Of course, when I think about it, it makes perfect sense... but my first reaction was to be surprised that anyone would be that interested in Ajax after all this time.
We saw something similar a few months ago where a contractor burned literally days getting Ubuntu and PostgreSQL installed. We just assumed that a modern web developer knows how to get a Linux server configured for development work. It's just background radiation, not even something we consider a skill worth mentioning. Source-code-control usage is another one, "everyone" knows that.
When you run into a co-worker who doesn't know how to merge properly, or a talk about something that just "is" in your life, you find yourself sitting back and pondering how much you've forgotten you know. Just this weekend Soni and I had our first discussion of the Gestalt... I spent years studying perception and used the Gestalt as a handy way to introduce perception... but it never occurred to me to mention the concept (or the school of psychology) to her... it was just something "everyone" knew, part of the background radiation.
There's something wonderful about those moments, when you take a step back and start thinking about how to extricate a body of knowledge that has disappeared into your finger-tips and present it in a meaningful way. I still feel professional-level devs should understand source-code-control and Ajax, but the feeling of looking down and realizing that you're holding a tool, not just projecting your will is a wonderful experience.
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