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JQuery and the Future of Web Application Development

 
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I am intrigued by JQuery. Looks good. But my question for forum members and for the authors of JQuery In Action is this: What is the future of Web Application Development? Where do we focus our learning to best meet the needs of the future web application market?

I've been away from development for a few years, and just ramping up again, but I'm astounded by the sheer number of technologies out there now. The list on Wikipedia is quite long: Wikipedia list of Web Application Frameworks

I've also noticed that there are several references to the fact that you can leverage your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript knowledge. But this means that a new person coming into the market will have to ramp-up on all 4 technologies. Great for those of us that have that knowledge already, but will new-comers seek something different so they don't have so much to ramp up on?
 
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HTML and CSS are core technologies of the web. Despite a number attempts to insulate you from those technologies, there is currently no real way to do non-trivial work without getting to know them. The good news is that both HTML and CSS are extremely easy languages to learn.

HTML is a markup language akin to XML with no programming features per s� (no control structures, no loops, etc.) CSS is style language that, for all its complexity, is also a relatively simple language. Its selector syntax is powerful mostly for its simplicity and its interaction with HTML. jQuery "leverages" CSS by allowing you to use the same selector syntax in JavaScript to bind behaviors to your elements.

The bottom line is attempts to insulate you from the relatively simple languages of HTML and CSS leave you in a muddled state that is actually more complex, especially when things go wrong.
 
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Some people might tell you that tools such as GWT are the "future of the web", but I don't believe it for an instant. While such tools may have a specific market segment in which they are useful, they will remain niche technologies. Moreover, even if you are in one of those niches and using these tools, you must understand the underlying technologies or you have no hope of being successful. Especially, as Yehuda pointed out, when things don't go as planned. And we all know that things never always go as planned.

Anyone working on web apps needs to wrap their mind around the core client-side technologies of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. jQuery really helps tie these together and make it easy, even a joy, to work on your client tier.

And then of course there's the whole server-side alphabet soup.... but that's another show.
 
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