[dojo-contributors] what is the raison detre for dojo 2.0.

Ken Benjamin kenbenjamin at kenbenjamin.net
Thu Oct 4 03:34:09 EDT 2012

As a relative newcomer to Dojo I throw in my 2 cents (and some more spare
change) about what I see as the value of Dojo, and why I chose to use it in
the first place (I started with 1.7b1).

My single short statement would be:

Dojo is a comprehensive Javascript toolkit for rich web applications,
offering cross-browser compatible solutions for behind-the-scenes coding
and a rich set of desktop and mobile user interface controls. In the event
that you need something special that Dojo doesn’t include its library of
XXX modules, you can use any AMD-compliant modules from other sources, or
quickly and easily write your own using the modular foundation the toolkit

*My reasoning behind it:*

When I was looking for the right toolkit to build my application (available
for free in beta test right now – here’s the link to the landing page about
it if you’re interested: http://happinessinternational.org/pdp ), I looked
at jQuery, ExtJs, Google, and some others. I liked Dojo for several reasons
(again 1.7 time frame):

*Rich UI feature set:*

I know from past experience that this is a huge time sink in development
and testing so anything that helps here is a blessing.

All things being equal, the initial appearance of apps on the demo pages is
a key driver of toolkit selection (killed off Google for me). Dojo’s mobile
demo looks great, the regular stuff (running under Claro or any of the base
themes) looks very business-oriented. I wanted something less business
oriented and jQuery almost won me over with ThemeRoller.

In my opinion, improving the styling options (and demoing that) would yield
the single greatest increase in adoption of the toolkit. First impressions
matter – a lot.

Off topic:

Could we have ThemeRoller compatibility in 2.0? I know it’s a huge
undertaking to add all those CSS classes to every widget.

If not, how about a new theme or two that is more 2012 than 2002 in design?
We really need to have more designers involved and sharing themes, maybe in
the same way we’re going to share dojox-like modules in 2.0.

* *

*Single, well established, and well-backed source:*

I know jQuery has lots of users but the core toolkit + UI is quite basic in
features. A simple BorderContainer-like object is a 3rd party plugin. That
alone made me know I was asking for trouble. The more different people
supporting just one piece or another, the more competing pieces that do the
same thing, the less likely there is to be ongoing support and maintenance,
and the more work for me in the future. I like that Dojo has it all and I
like that it has big backers like IBM.


jQuery is great for animating and enhancing a standard web page with some
stuff on it. I’m using it on my WordPress sites and think it’s just great.
I know Dojo can do the same stuff but jQuery does make this bit easy and
there is a lot of support for it. Actually, when I say “I’m using it”
really what I mean is my theme and plugin vendors use it. I rarely need to
touch it but it’s there when I do and simple enough to code.

Dojo fills a different market niche. The learning curve, at least as
presented, is steeper than jQuery but the results are worth it for a
comprehensive app. I’m sure something similar is possible with ExtJs, YUI,
or Google’s toolkit but I liked the Dojo approach, some aspect of look and
feel, and the modular nature of the code base.


I found Dojo very hard to get started with. If it hadn’t been for your help
I’m not sure I would have made it over the initial learning curve.
Admittedly, the tutorials have improved and the API documentation finally
works (thank you!) but there still are no books that are relevant. A Dojo
2.0 book is, in my opinion, a requirement.

Maybe I missed something, and I haven’t gone back to check the introductory
tutorials recently but it would be nice to be able to ease people into Dojo
in the same way they get eased into jQuery. A simple tutorial that takes an
existing web page and does something snazzy with it, animation (not just a
box moving, please), some inputs styled nicely, something else hard to do,
say a dialog box or BorderContainer layout. All built with declarative
markup, using dojo/query (why not alias it to $ just for fun?) and a little
backing code. Something that says to a newbie “Hey, this is easy! I can do
cool stuff on my website and there is all this other stuff available, too!”

The only other negative was one I’ve already mentioned. The themes are all
of one kind. Mostly it’s just color changes, and dull ones at that, until
you get to mobile (a beast to deal with in CSS and a rant for another
time). It was this weakness that kept me searching for other options early
on when I could have settled on Dojo right away had there been an
additional set of cool themes to choose from.


Maybe it’s hard for many of you to see, coming the table as highly
experienced web application developers, steeped in the arcane mysteries of
cross-browser bugs and object-oriented JavaScript, but new adopters don’t
all have that background. I think it’s important that Dojo try to be the
rich-application toolkit for everyone, with the ability to do the same
stuff as jQuery as an ‘oh, by the way’ feature set you can start with.


*From:* dojo-contributors-bounces at mail.dojotoolkit.org [mailto:
dojo-contributors-bounces at mail.dojotoolkit.org] *On Behalf Of *Rawld Gill
*Sent:* Thursday, October 04, 2012 1:54 AM
*To:* dojo-contributors at mail.dojotoolkit.org
*Subject:* [dojo-contributors] what is the raison detre for dojo 2.0.

As we being moving forward with 2.0, it seems this foundational question is
important to answer: what is the raison d’etre for dojo 2.0?

Everybody should try to answer. This includes current contribs as well as
 past contribs that have moved on.

Answers can’t be feature lists. Pretend you are justifying this project to
somebody who is going to pay for it. After all, that’s exactly what is
happening: we are all donating the most valuable thing we have—our time. As
such, we all ought to ask ourselves, “is this something I want to do?”

Answers should be a least a sentence, but not more than a paragraph. We can
have long debates if necessary after we throw the gas on the fire.

Warning: this is not a simple question. If we get it wrong, at best Dojo
will be also-ran.


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