This past week I started playing with GatsbyJS, a static site generator and framework centered around React. I successfully used today it to generate a static version of this blog (I’m in the process of selecting the static site tool that will replace my vintage 2008 Django-based engine). The componentization that React brings isn’t much of a win for me here, i.e. I’m not likely to be building components for my blog that I reuse elsewhere.

How not to advocate via Google Code

People sure are excited about the Google App Engine. Especially people who have some other favorite language besides Python. A significant number of the issue tracker items are of the form “Please add support for $MY_LANGUAGE”, where $MY_LANGUAGE might be VB.NET, C#, PHP, Java, Groovy, Ruby, Perl, etc. ad nauseam. I’m not going to comment on the language-wars aspect. But if you want your language supported (this goes for any issue in the tracker in fact), the thing to do is not to go to one of those issue pages and add a comment that consists of “+1”.

An embarrassment of RichIAs

First we had Shockwave, which begat Flash which begat Flex and Apollo, while meanwhile people have been busy doing Ajax. Of course Microsoft wants to get in on the action, and Sun does too — announcing JavaFX today. The name “JavaFX Script” is brilliant – now instead of just confusing Java and Javascript, people can confuse them with JavaFX too! Plus it sounds a little like “Flex” and has two As, a J and an X in it.

Liking jQuery

I’m not trying to cop out of learning actual Javascript, honest. My copy of the DOM Scripting book is on its way and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot. And I like almost everything about Javascript (except the curly braces and semicolons). I still remember reading an article by Simon Willison several years ago which demonstrated techniques for standards-compliant and elegant use of Javascript. Like many who lived through The Great DHTML Frenzy circa 2000, I found this idea completely shocking at the time.

Meta-roundup of Javascript libraries

I was working on a sharp little post about the bewildering array of available Javascript libraries and how I had almost become resigned to collecting lists-of-lists-of-libraries for future analysis. Then, while I was mulling this over, a neato Javascript library demo I was running crashed Safari, taking my post with it. Lesson 1: I will remember to always use “Edit in TextMate” in the future. Lesson 2: I won’t get too excited about cramming my pages full of Javascript.

JavaScript and the thickening client

In recent weeks I’ve been listening to the back-catalog of Ajaxian podcasts while commuting. It’s been great food for thought for me, since I’m one of those people who retreated to the server side years ago to avoid the horror of incompatible, standards-oblivious browsers and crazed animated status bar messages. Things seem to have gotten a lot better, to say the least. Here are some things that these podcasts have prompted me to think about: