Confessions of a bad web developer
I’ve been moonlighting with the ASP.Net MVC framework lately. Not a lot, just enough to get acquainted for right now. Yesterday I had my “Road to Damascus” incident. I don’t know HTML.
OK, not completely true, I know lots of html tags, table, ul, div, p, a, etc; and I know how to use them without looking things up. More importantly, I know a ton of asp.net controls. What I don’t know, specifically, is how they all work.
Like the form tag. I know every Asp.Net page I have ever made has had one of them (and only one, at least as of .Net 1.1 that is all you were allowed). But I don’t remember how to use it any more. How to read data from it, pass values from one page to the next. I used to, did it a few times in fact. Then came Asp.Net, and I haven’t looked back.
CSS I have come to terms with. I know the difference between .tag and #tag. I’ve written a hover or two. But there are still unknowns there as well. I still visit w3schools regularly, and spend way too much time with FireBug and Fiddler. And CssZenGarden — that is just beyond me right now.
But even in Asp.Net. How does a post back work? How is it that a button click is hooked up to an event handler? I’m a firm believer that their is no “magic” in programming. Post back is magic to me. Maybe once years ago I knew, but not anymore.
Asp.Net is a stripped down version of web development with .Net. ViewState: gone. asp:Button: hope you are familiar with submit. The cozy jacket is gone and has been replaced with a wind breaker. All those old techniques that we threw away with our last ASP page needs to be resurrected.
Being how I already live in a cold climate, I know that the biggest part of working in cold weather is to acclimated to the temperature. Part of it as well, is knowing that you have to work in the cold climate. So this isn’t time to put things off. Spring is still a ways off. So, for Asp.Net WebForms developers, that means re-familiarizing yourself with a few technologies that we all thought we didn’t need to know that well:
- Asp.Net Ajax framework
I’m not going to specify particular books. I don’t have time for that, and you can search Amazon as well as I can. Actually, I bought a couple of these books for $1 at Hastings near my house. Worth every cent.
Also worth noting what is not on my list: XML. The language we thought was the lingua franca of the web. I’ve had enough XML, and the Asp.Net Ajax library talks via JSON (which is much smaller). So XML is out for me. And that is fine, I think, there is enough to learn as is.