The World Wide Web (what we used to call the internet) was a very different place in the 1990s. The concept of dynamic web pages was initially limited to a visit counter at the bottom of the page that increased each time someone visited a website. To put it another way, the web was static, and Netscape wished to change that.
Netscape and Sun Microsystems collaborated to integrate the Java programming language as a scripting solution into their flagship web browser. Java was popular at the time. It was popular, powerful, and, most importantly, it revolutionized software development by bringing object-oriented programming to the forefront.
The language is inefficient, disorganized, and unappealing. Its design incorporates competing paradigms as well as overlapping features. It’s horribly verbose in places and rather tame in others. But it did solve a significant problem, and thanks to a dedicated community, it has found a place in the tech industry.
jQuery, if anything, served as a rallying cry for developers. It provided a foundation for paradigms to emerge around web development, and it was so successful and convenient that it is still used by more than 70% of all web pages today. So, how did we get from this relatively stable paradigm to the current lifecycle crisis?
This expansion corresponds to an increase in the processing power of computers/smart devices as well as the capabilities of web browsers. Simply put, it’s a self-reinforcing loop: better browser technology pushes for more elaborate frameworks, which pushes for better browser technology.
The revision treadmill is unquestionably addicting. It’s easy to get excited about the latest and greatest without considering the implications for our products. This is particularly true of deprecations. While most businesses are prudent enough to thoroughly review the documentation before implementing an upgrade, it’s easy to overlook a line or two. What was the end result? The code is suddenly incompatible with the framework.
What It Means for Your Business
Do you really need to stay up to date on the latest release? Maybe. The only sound advice I can give at this point is to recognize that not every change is beneficial and that new revisions always necessitate some level of retraining. Don’t jump on the bandwagon if your current solution is working. To put it another way, think before you leap.
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