WaSP DOM Scripting Task Force

Today the WaSP announced the DOM Scripting Task Force of which I am a member. Its purpose is:

reaching out to standards-aware web developers who have not yet discovered the power of DOM Scripting and to experienced JavaScripters whose current practices do not include web standards and accessibility. In addition, the Task Force will provide accessible, cross-browser example scripts.

The Task Force is led by Dori Smith and Jeremy Keith. Other Task Force members include Dean Edwards, Christian Heilmann, and Stuart Langridge. In addition Derek Featherstone will liaise with the recently formed WaSP Accessibility Task Force.

The Task Force has its own website — currently with a placeholder design — which currently contains a blog and a few static pages. We fully intend to enlarge this site.

The site also boasts a JavaScript Manifesto which explains the problems JavaScript development is currently experiencing, and the solution we propose.

The WaSP DOM Scripting Task Force proposes to make unobtrusive DOM scripting the cornerstone of all JavaScript programming.

For the exact definition of unobtrusive DOM scripting, as well as the reasons why we feel that it should become the starting point of any JavaScript programming attempt, read the JavaScript Manifesto.

Although many people have helped defining the problems, trends, and solutions contained in the Manifesto, I have been given the honour of writing them all down, and I count the Manifesto as a full-fledged article.

Furthermore the site contains our definition list — which is also appended to the press release. What do we mean when we say "DOM Scripting", "AJAX", or "DHTML"? We hope that the existence of this list will decrease JavaScript's naming chaos.

All in all we're proud of what we have done in the month since the London JavaScript get-together, and though we realise we've hardly begun scratching the surface of the problems JavaScript development suffers from, we hope that this initiative will be the start of a bandwagon-effect that will cause JavaScript to be taken seriously once more.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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Comments are closed.

1 Posted by Robert Nyman on 18 July 2005 | Permalink

And good luck! :-)

2 Posted by Mark McDonnell on 18 July 2005 | Permalink

"We badly need a new generation of scripters who have a deep understanding of accessibility problems, can distinguish good scripts from bad because they know how wrong JavaScript can go, and are steeped in standards compliant thinking."

This is only so true and im glad im one of those programmers who has been ready for about 2 years for things to get started in this direction.

Come on people lets pull our fingers out and get cracking with unobtrusive DOM scripting.

3 Posted by Small Paul on 18 July 2005 | Permalink

Good stuff. Any plans to:

+ influence future development of the language itself?
+ talk with tool makers, like Microsoft et al, about their products?

4 Posted by Dante on 18 July 2005 | Permalink

I fully feel that you guys can help remove Javascript's status as a mythical, evil sort of plague on the web, and help people realise that there is much more good than bad. Is the site going to be aimed at advanced JS gurus or simple people wanting to learn more about the DOM?

I never thought I'd see the day where PPK is a member of the WaSP.

5 Posted by ppk on 18 July 2005 | Permalink

I am NOT a WaSP, I'm merely a member of a WaSP task force. Not all task force members need to be WaSPs, though the task force leader has to be.

6 Posted by Erik Arvidsson on 19 July 2005 | Permalink

Sweet. It is good that there are people who have the interest to show that JS is not rocket science (as MSFT stated in some press release some time ago).

My main objection is that you are trying to ridicule the word DHTML. I know some people still consider this to identify the v4 animation era but the small click that survived this knows it is not. Peter-Paul: You if anyone should know that DHTML is not "An outdated scripting technique that is mainly characterized by the changes it makes to the style properties of certain elements, and by the use of the browser-specific DOMs document.layers and document.all."

7 Posted by ppk on 19 July 2005 | Permalink


How would you define it?

Personally I want to get rid of the term 'DHTML', so I thought I'd give it this definition. Nobody else on the TF objected, so it ended up in the definition list.

8 Posted by Mark McDonnell on 19 July 2005 | Permalink

DHTML is just a confusing term, and I would much rather see it banished from my sight :)

9 Posted by Erik Arvidsson on 20 July 2005 | Permalink

Something like this:


This is the buzzword that was introduced with the version 4 browsers and it is often associated with animation and other disruptive DOM scripts that didn’t improve usability or functionality.

10 Posted by Nevel on 20 July 2005 | Permalink

Good intiative, I too think people need more clarity nowadays. Not only for javascripting, also for distinguishing between CSS, DOM and JavaScript.

Though I'm not a big fan of scripts from the "v4 animation era" (ok, I admit, some were good for a laugh ;)), I don't regard the term DHTML as a negative thing. The way I always understood it, DHTML is where JavaScript starts influencing CSS properties (though it might be I'm just mis-taught). True, it was (and still is) often used for needless stuff.

11 Posted by Fuzztrek on 20 July 2005 | Permalink

I think it's useless to try and define something *now* that never had a definition back when it was actually prevalent. But of all things, lets not get hung up on this name thing again. It's the reputation we're trying to change, after all.