Yahoo’s Douglas Crockford on Microsoft’s Channel 9

Douglas Crockford graciously appeared on Channel 9 in “Douglas Crockford, Alex Russell and Joseph Smarr: On the Past, Present and Future of JavaScript” with one of the worst “full time” Channel 9 interviewers and two, well-respected, super smart script kiddies.

Douglas was the model of maturity and demonstrates how not to take egocentrism personally—a problem that I have been struggling with for years. First of all, Microsoft, to this day, has a systematic ‘disrespect’ for JavaScript (actually Jscript®). It does not need to be expressed in simple words or actions. It is expressed by design—egocentrics often overlook this form of communication (or assume others are incapable of reading it). All I have to do is look at how Microsoft has shipped (and is probably shipping today) JavaScript code in the Visual Studio stack (namely ASP.NET Ajax) to see the ignorance. Collectively speaking, Microsoft writes JavaScript like 1990s Java programmers write J2EE code. I’m sure Scott Guthrie (or Nikhil Kothari?) is going to fix this over time. This is sad complexity as C# 3.0 comes with lambdas and extension methods (two language features that appeared in JavaScript years ago).

I often wondered how Douglas Crockford would fare in a company owned by Microsoft. Perhaps he would actually teach these smart guys to write real JavaScript code and even encourage Microsoft evangelists to stop dropping deprecating “JavaScript guru” comments during their demos (like the recent ones at MIX08).

And now, a few more loosely-coupled points:

  • My guess is that Douglas Crockford is a functional programming proponent (who supports open standards for the sake of near-universal deployment) instead of a simple JavaScript language zealot. His younger counterparts were less ambivalent about JavaScript.
  • Okay I get it now: Douglas Crockford invented JSON. Now it is clear to me why XML is not his bestest friend. By the way, I almost used JSON last week with the Zend Framework but did something stupid fast with XML instead. Douglas Crockford will be the first to admit that using eval is evil.
  • A new REST-based movement is taking hold of Microsoft in the form of ADO.NET Data Services ‘invented’ by Pablo Castro. For some reason I assume a REST-afarian culture will help Crockford’s view of the electronic publishing world propagate throughout Microsoft will little or no assassination attempts from the SOAP ninjas led by Master Don Box (who, I am told, has vanished into the Himalayas with a small army of loyal followers planning for their next WCF attack on Gotham City).
  • Clearly Microsoft knows (in more ways than one) that my experience is in the minority but I consider myself a very strong C# programmer that happens to be very, very comfortable with angle brackets—from HTML to XHTML and XML—and hand-written JavaScript.
  • The other language that Microsoft market researchers for the Visual Studio line confidently treat like shit is the SQL for Microsoft Server. You will find Pablo Castro in the February SQL Down Under interview explaining why it is OK to auto-generate crappy looking SQL statements with ADO.NET Data Services.
  • …and I am not going to even mention the horrors of what happens to HTML (or XHTML?) in ASP.NET SharePoint pages. Ted Pattison that man from the “jungle” can show you in “Customizing a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 site with the SharePoint Designer 2007.”