Decoded Chats – Chris Wilson on JavaScript Dependency And Longevity of Web Standards

Chris Wilson headshot
Chris Wilson (@cwilso) is a “World Wide Web Shaman and Freethinker” and has been instrumental to the web of today by working on Internet Explorer and Chrome and defining a lot of standards we use. He blogs at

In this edition of Decoded Chats, Chris Heilmann talked with him on our dependency on JavaScript on the web, how much of an issue this is and how we can ensure that the web standards we define are still relevant to an ever-changing web.

Here are the questions we covered:

  1. A current hot topic that seems to come up every few years is the dependency of web products on JavaScript, and if we could do without it. What is the current state there?
  2. Didn’t the confusion start when we invented the DOM and allowed for declarative and programmatic access to the document? JavaScript can create HTML and CSS and give us much more control over the outcome.
  3. One of the worries with Web Components was that it would allow developers to hide a lot of complexity in custom elements. Do we have a problem understanding that modules are meant to be simple?
  4. Isn’t part of the issue that the web was built on the premise of documents and that a nature of modules needs to be forced into it? CSS has cascade in its name, yet modules shouldn’t inherit styles from the document.
  5. Some functionality needed for modern interfaces seem to be achievable with competing standards. You can animate in CSS, JavaScript and in SVG. Do different standard working groups not talk to each other?
  6. Declarative functionality in CSS and HTML can be optimised by browser makers. When you – for example – create animations in JavaScript, we can’t do that for you. Is that a danger?
  7. A lot of JavaScript enhancements we see in browsers now is enhancing existing APIs instead of inventing new ones. Passive Event listeners is a great example. Is this something that will be the way forward?
  8. One thing that seems to be wasteful is that a lot of research that went into helper libraries in the past dies with them. YUI had a lot of great information about animation and interaction. Can we prevent this somehow?
  9. Do you feel that hacks die faster these days? Is a faster release schedule of browsers the solution to not keeping short-term solutions clog up the web?
  10. It amazes me what browsers allow me to do these days and create working layouts and readable fonts for me. Do you think developers don’t appreciate the complexity of standards and CSS enough?

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Decoded Chats – third edition featuring Chris Wilson on JavaScript and Web Standards | Christian Heilmann

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