Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gnome runs out of feet to shoot. Goes with Javascript

This is the Gnome-Logo made with vectors. GNOM...
This is the Gnome-Logo made with vectors. GNOME and the foot logo are trademarks of the GNOME Foundation. Español: Éste es el logo de Gnome hecho con vectores. GNOME y el logo del pie son marcas registradas de la Fundación GNOME (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Written by: Dietrich T. Schmitz

Fellow LAnista +Ken Starks registered this comment today concerning Gnome:

"From the Desk of - It Was Only A Matter of Time.....

Most people who do any programming in Gnome already know that the gnome shell is written in Javascript.  So now, the apps for Gnome 3/Gnome Shell are to be written in Javascript too.

Sigh.....While some people do fairly nice work in the language, when I was deciding which development languages I would take time to learn, it didn't take me long to figure out Javascript wasn't going to be one of them....and that was for reasons most of you already know or share.

So...it appears to me that Gnome is running out of feet to shoot.  Or is this a step forward into the future?  I am much to bias to be honest here.  I've wanted Javascript to die in a 5 alarm fire for years."

From the Slashdot story cited by Starks:
mikejuk writes"Much to most programmers' shock and dismay Gnome has made JavaScript its main language for apps. It will still support other languages and it still supports C for libraries, but for apps it is JavaScript that rules. JavaScript seems to be a good choice for Gnome 3, as the shell UI is written in the language. It is also consistent with the use of JavaScript in WinRT, Chrome Apps, and FirefoxOS apps, and generally the rise of web apps. As you might expect, the initial reactions are of horror at the idea that JavaScript has been selected rather than the favorite language of the commenter. There is a great deal of ignorance about (and prejudice against) JavaScript, which is often regarded as an incomplete toy language rather than the elegant and sparse language that it actually is."


It does raise concern from many traditional programmers who are steeped in either C or C++ skills that such a decision is being made.  Yet, proponents of this decision say that coding is easier in Javascript and combining with WebkitGtk bindings the local speed is more than acceptable.   I would submit that no matter what you do with Javascript regardless of the dialect and toolset, a C/C++ compiled executable is orders of magnitude faster in operation.  There is no disputing that. In fact, there is good reason that in terms of critical design decisions, C/C++ are the de facto resources for system kernel and operating system binary executables.

Google have prudently chosen to employ Native Client (NaCl) extensions for those tasks which would otherwise simply encounter bottlenecks running as Javascript VM byte code in both their Chrome browser and ChromeOS operating system.

Here's a short video from Google which highlights the virtues of employing Native Client applications:

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