Javascript is really fun

I have tried to avoid doing Javascript for many years now. I know that it is a simple language. Heck, it was the first language I learned. But the main reason why I shun it was because of the incompatibility across browsers and the lack of a proper debugger.

Incompatibility across browsers is a big deal. The first time I did Javascript, there was only Netscape. So everything worked as planned. Then Internet Explorer came along and offered a better DOM. So I did some things in IE which did not work on Netscape. That was hell. Now, there are libraries out there like prototype that makes some of the programming easier. Also, the standard has sort of settled down after the epic browser wars in the 90s. Even then I am sure that some bastard version of IE, Netscape or Opera will not be able to run my website.

The other reason I shunned Javascript was because of the lack of a debugger and proper IDE. I want to be able to inspect things on the web page and manipulate them. I don't want to have to remember the name of the div or span. I want to be able to mouse over each element and see some description of it. Come Firebug. This makes all the difference.

If you want to use Safari, you can get the latest nightly build. It includes a DOM inspector as well. And it comes bundled with Drosera, the Javascript debugger. Folks with Opera might have to try something else. But who really cares about Opera? I mean a browser that cannot even handle: javascript:self.moveTo(0,0);self.resizeTo(1280,screen.availHeight); is probably broken in other ways too.

After the past foray with Javascript to get my grading application to do give more hints while grading, I think that Javascript is not really that bad. It's a prototype language after all and has all the dynamic nature that can make it useful. It's probably not going to be good for i/O but it is definitely handy when you want to manipulate stuff around in the website.

Since I am toying around with Javascript, I might as well go see what is going in the AJAX world and try my hands with that also. But why stop there? I should definitely come up with some website that has Javascript patterns. Javascript is a slightly different beast because it is pretty attached to the web browser. So when you talk about patterns it is probably going to be tied down to the DOM as well.

What I need now is a good source of reference for Javascript. AND. The compatibilities with different browsers.

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