A whole lotta chickens

You may be familiar with the old joke about the chicken & pig’s relative contributions to breakfast — the chicken, of course, being involved by virtue of providing the eggs, and the pig being committed vis-a-vis the bacon.  The origin of this saying is now lost to antiquity, but it has been adopted as an illustration of dedication by sports personalities and business coaches because it manages to capture these relative levels of engagement succinctly and powerfully.

I found myself reaching for the chicken & pig business fable this week in the context of Product Ownership.  We’ve got a back-office product that’s just not getting a lot of love from the business — lots of people who want to provide input, but nobody who’s interested in taking ownership.

This isn’t unexpected or unreasonable.  Product Management as a professional discipline is still largely nascent.  On top of that, initiatives that raise the top line are always an easier sell than back-office cost-center programs.  For these reasons, I’m not sure that accounting, billing, document-management and other cross-cutting infrastructure-like programs are likely to lead the way in agile adoption or digital transformation, but transform they must — eventually.

HTML is dead! Long live HTML!

While catching up on newsletters from CodeProject, I came upon an interesting article talking about the “why” of JavaScript UI’s — not the typical “how”.

Why JavaScript is Eating HTML

In “Why JavaScript is Eating HTML”, Mike Turley walks through the “classic” static HTML for structure + CSS for appearance + JavaScript for behavior example, and then examines how this application evolves as JavaScript begins to control the application more deeply by interacting directly with the DOM.

Reflecting on this article, we’ve done this sort of thing before.  Going all the way back to CICS to run terminal applications on mainframes, we’ve separated UI structure from behavior.  Microsoft Access had its forms, which propagated to Visual Basic, and eventually to .Net, WPF, XAML, and so on.  Static is easy, and frankly, it works pretty well most of the time, but as UI behavioral needs become more sophisticated, these static structures are ill-equipped to handle those needs.

So, I’m skeptical these techniques are going to put HTML out of business anytime soon, but in a dynamic application, they make a boatload of sense.