I'm a believer in that there are key moments, inflection points if you will, where the path can go many directions. But because of ... well, "something" ... the path moves the way it wills.
Have you ever re-read book series you enjoy? Well, I'm re-reading one of my favorite book series and there's a term from Robert Jordan's famous book series, The Wheel of Time that references how certain people have the ability to influence the the world. It's dubbed Ta'veren.
There are several such moments in the evolution of the Web where the path shifted due to something of great influence. This is a story of not forgetting one such Ta'veren moment.
What follows is adapted from my original Twitter thread.
“Let’s not forget”— John Papa (@John_Papa) May 1, 2022
It’s easy to forget the trailblazing that jQuery and MooTools and others did back when the browsers had vastly different programming models and seemingly no intention of ever coming together.
Before these tools developer life for web folk like me involved a lot of conditional logic. If IE, if Netscape, if Safari … and this translated into a few challenges. Companies had to decide if they wanted their apps to target all browsers or possibly just one or none!
There were plenty of times I was asked and paid to write for multiple browsers. Yes it cost more so as a developer I got paid for it. But it wasn’t enjoyable and it was fraught (I love that word) with danger. Testing libs we’re not great and it was easy to ship bugs 🐜
Even if a company decided to target one browser (often because it may be their audience or an internal app where browsers were controlled) there was conditional logic for browser versions.
At the time it was easy to see why the focus shifted away from the client and to the server side tech. Writing for the browser was difficult, costly, and time consuming.
Enter JQuery, MooTools and others.
To be clear these tools do a lot more than just target the browsers for you but my focus here is how the Web evolved. And excuse me for the dramatics but I believe its clear that jQuery was a major inflection point in the Web.
Robert Jordan’s famous series the @TheWheelOfTime names people who cause everything around them to shift as Ta’veren. Ta'veren are people around whom the Wheel of Time specifically weaves the Pattern with all surrounding life-threads.
One might say jQuery was Ta’veren
JQuery (over time) made it possible to write browser based apps without targeting each browser brand and version. Need animation? You got it. Need to manipulate the DOM? You got it.
JQuery turned the tide.
Once at @Disney I was asked to explore a PHP app for a project that was troubled. My job was to help fix app architecture and I loved it. My challenge was I was not a PHP expert. After a few hours I realized this app’s key features were almost entirely JQuery.
This made my job easier and we were able to come together and solve its troubles. My point here is that often server side apps were adoption tons of JQuery. PHP + JQuery is powerful! ASP + JQuery is powerful! What a great way to enhance web apps!
Before JQuery, a lot of web devs shifted to other paradigms when they could. JQuery shifted the entire landscape.
Soon companies like Microsoft pulled JQuery into their popular tool @VisualStudio. OSS in an enterprise app? That was just not how it’s done!
This was the height of JQuery and it is no small thing to say it weaved the pattern that affected all of the web tech and our lives around it.
Modern web frameworks, mobile tech, and the entire web owe a lot to the great disruptor that we know as JQuery.
I love the Web. I love how it connects us all.
I’m also very appreciative of the impact that jQuery had on its evolution.
If you like this thread please “like” it ❤️ and I’ll share more on this and related topics.
This is a story I enjoy sharing on stage. And it’s only chapter 1 👀