Is it getting harder and harder to show very easy examples?Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
I’m talking about practices that make it easy to get quick results and give readers and attendees “I am getting this – this is easy” fuzzy warm feelings.
One very obvious example is form validation and re-rendering of a form using
PHP_SELF and displaying user data using
$_POST. Unfiltered they are a free invitation for any XSS attack and will turn your server into a spam-hub or bot-net drone. Explaining countermeasures of XSS normally is out of scope for an example that only shows how a form would work that you enhance progressively.
The same applies to simply outdated ideas like onevent handlers. It is easy to show an example that uses a few
onclick handlers, but explaining event handling really well takes a bit of time. Again, this is something that really does not fit in the scope of a DOM course.
I do however think that it is important to get it in there, as there is no such thing as knowing one technology in the web development stack and being able to use it. There’s a lot of overlap with other areas and in order to be a good developer and play well with others you need to be aware of your effects and areas of overlap with your colleagues’ skill-sets.
The other extreme I find myself doing is being too over-cautious. I went through the tough times of the first browser wars and got a deep-rooted mistrust towards anything some browser tells me is OK to do and use. However, I get the feeling that it doesn’t really matter any more if Internet Explorer has a problem with name vs. ID or whatever other shenanigans we have to be aware of when we build things from scratch.
I do get the distinct feeling that not building on top of a good client-side library is simply a waste of time these days. Libraries allow us to write code, not to work around bugs and wonder what other safety measure we have to put in.
Maybe it is time to get beginners accustomed to a market that builds on working solutions and benefits from browser abstraction via libraries than teaching developing from total scratch – bad browsers and bad people taking advantage of any technology to gain access or spam us seem to have made this way of working redundant.