Harry's Home on the Web
Mini post, mostly to pick up on some tweets about HAML that I wanted to respond to. But not in 140 characters.
@harrym my largest objection is that it’s an abstraction over something that doesn’t need abstracting. (link)
@harrym maintainability involves people after you picking up code. People who don’t think learning another html syntax was necessary. (link)
@harrym good html is fine to read. Bad HTML not so much so. Maybe some are using HAML as a discipline mechanism. (link)
@harrym furthermore, the biggest reason for abstraction is when there is more than one output or source. Not the case with HAML. (link)
First of all: it’s not really an abstraction at all. I know that it calls itself one, but it isn’t, really. It’s just an alternative syntax. So let’s rename it to Html Alternative Markup Language and forget about that one!
You’re right that people’s unfamiliarity with HAML is a barrier to maintainability, but that’s true of any new technology. That it’s a barrier isn’t really the point: the more important question is whether it’s a barrier that’s worth breaking through. I say that it is. Once you have learned it (which is hardly difficult) it becomes much easier and quicker to write clean, readable, valid markup. Less stuff to write, less stuff to read, fewer lines than the HTML equivalent. Win.
As for using HAML as a discipline mechanism. That’s partially true. Then again, it’s true of compilers, too, and non-superuser accounts on *nix boxes, and typed languages, and object orientation. All of those are, among other things, discipline mechanisms. What’s bad about that?
If you can enforce discipline while also being easier, quicker and more elegant, haven’t you just made some better technology?
I have nothing but sympathy for this poor woman, and nothing but delight that she’s pulled through her illness, but I’d really like to know how the Beeb consider this argument credible:
- I had cancer
- I had conventional treatment
- Doctors said they’d done everything they could
- I took a homeopathic remedy
- I got better
- Therefore, homeopathy works
You know what? Doctors are people too, and sometimes they’re wrong.
I mean, really.
We all know and love the Number 10 petitions site. The technology works and the experience is well thought through, as one would expect given that it’s a mySociety project.
It’s not perfect, though, and as usual, it’s the human element that’s problematic. It’s the responses to petitions that don’t hit the mark, and don’t give any opportunity for people to engage further. It’s the top-down, message-driven, one-way broadcasting at people, instead of the collaborative, mutually respectful conversation that we should be having with Government.
Having real, two-way conversations is hard. It requires time, patience, money, and a wholesale change in attitude — but Government say they’re up for it. Digital Engagement is the mantra du jour. And things are definitely moving in the right direction.
So — given this background of steady and positive change — why are Number 10 still stuck in the mud? Why do we get responses to petitions that range from the dishonest to the obtuse, and only the occasional gem, when it really should be the other way around?
And why, when someone makes an extremely sensible suggestion for a way to make this a bit better, does it get dismissed out of hand?
The last thing the Web needs is another place for people to shout into a hole.
- Cool stuff
- Odds & Ends
- February 2013
- November 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- September 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- August 2010
- July 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- October 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009