Divination of the DOM

As one year wanes and another waxes, it’s traditional for newspapers, television programmes and websites to post lists. Usually those lists offer a backwards-over-the-shoulder look at the year gone by as they posit the best movies and music of the last twelve months. Occasionally however, some brave soul dares to post a list of predictions for the coming year.

Roger Johansson has stepped up to the plate and listed his hopes and predictions for the world of web design in 2005. His forecast of increased JavaScript usage is particularly enlightening:

"Increased usage on sites built by professional developers that are aware of web standards and accessibility. However, this time around it will be used to increase usability without decreasing accessibility, not to decrease both usability and accessibility, as was very popular during the dotcom era."

He’s hit the nail on the head there explaining why developers are wary of making full use of DOM scripting. As I explained in "This Year’s Document Object Model", we were once bitten during the browser wars and now we’re twice shy.

There could be another reason for the tardiness of world domination by JavaScript and the DOM…

Dave Shea weighs in with his similar augury for 2005:

"It’s this kind of low-impact scripting that’s going to take off this year, I agree with Simon on that count. The name of the game is script that enhances HTML functionality, rather than provides core functionality in a non-scripted or older and less-capable environment. HTML is a fine building block to begin with, and responsible DOM scripting is going to take it to new levels."

but in the ensuing comments, someone asks:

"Are you aware of any good resources for learning ‘responsible’ JavaScript? Esp. for those of us (ahem) who have never had particularly well-developed JS skills, so are not necessarily unlearning anything…

to which Dave responds:

"I’d be interested in some good resources as well. Most DHTML scripts you’ll now find are steeped in 1997."

There’s the rub. While there is no shortage of up-to-date articles and zen gardens about using CSS, there’s a lack of good DOM scripting resources. My prediction for 2005 is that that situation will change.

As web developers finally begin to wake up and smell the JavaScript, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the pioneers who have been telling us all this for ages. Simon and Stuart, it looks like this is going to be your year.

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