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The New Javascript

July 6th, 2007 by Erick Beck

For those of you who haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest Jeremy Keith’s DOM Scripting. While none of the concepts are new, the approach he takes brings everything together and creates that “aha!” moment when the lightbulb goes off.  I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that this work is going to be as revolutionary as Eric Meyer’s and Dave Shea’s breakthroughs in CSS.

Gone are the days of the document.write statement and inaccessibilities created by required javascript. Keith lays out the concept of “Progressive Javascript,” also known as “Unobtrusive Javascrtipt.”  Using the DOM, he shows the reader how to separate content from action, just as we use CSS to separate content from design.

The DOM also allows us to use this these scripts unobtrusively – a browser with javascript enabled gets the full effect, those without it enabled will never know they aren’t seeing the primary design. This comes from an emphasis on graceful degredation and designing the page such that the scripting enhances the page rather than creating a page based on the necessities imposed by the javascript.

I’ve historically been one of those developers who avoid javascript on principle. “It’s obtrusive!”, “It’s inaccessible!”, “Not everybody has it enabled!” Well, no more. Using the model of progressive scripting (and a little thought!) I think it’s now possible to use javascript across the spectrum of web design.

Friday, July 6th, 2007 Usability
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