Bootstrap Über Alles
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Ok, the award for the best new technology, that should have shown up a freaking long time ago, goes to Twitter Bootstrap. Let‘s get out the crystal ball and look into the future.. you have some great grandkid asking you about what the web was like in the beginning, ten years from now and you‘re like ‘yes, that‘s right: we had these people called Designers who fabricated each website using a markup language, wait, well most of them were using a tool called Photoshop, and frankly, there wasn‘t much fabrication, it was mostly strings of conversations like ‘I looked at 5 sites that have login boxes, and I like the way X does _ and Y does _.‘‘ So, it was kind of like personalized recycling of artistic ideas into a largely form-dominated landscape of inane ‘sites.‘ [pause for applause at this point].
But wait, it was worse than that. For all of its pretensions about process in tech, the dominant approach throughout this formative period was a model not unlike Noah‘s Ark: once funded some genius who had been granted authority over spending commissions disembarkation, but before leaving, makes a list of ‘we need 1 of these, 2 of those,‘ etc. So Designers were often empaneled with this job of makin‘ it look purdy before there was really anything made, and the remaking was constant and often carried out at the behest of people whose sense of what would ultimately serve the purpose had as much likelihood of reaching dock as a calculus lesson to an audience of PeeWee‘s Playhouse.
I‘d like to coin a phrase for this condition: the logic of the asymptote, or asymptotic logic syndrome: when you finally realize in a given situation that no amount of force or additional time will result in the intersection of the current trajectory and the tracking axis.
Great designers, on the other hand, offer immense value (though they be few and far between). A week at WWDC drills that message into your head quite convincingly. The problem is that people still assume that Designers are needed because Developers cannot do design. Which is nonsense. But seriously, comparing a Designer to a script kiddie is like comparing Secretariat to Romney‘s dancing horse.
Finally, this is a victory for modern art and Alexander. I personally love Andy Warhol and think he was a total genius. Surely he would have done a bootstrap had he lived and made it to the web (instead, he died recovering from a routine operation due to idiotic negligence). But also, patterns are not just about lording over other programmers with your knowledge of idioms while they are still skirmishing over stupid syntactical battles, they are about the idea of incorporating approaches in snap together forms, from a learned catalog. Bootstrap may not be pointed this way yet, but it has opened the door to this: schematized, templated assemblage of elements that are not hand hewn and then debugged at each weld point in 4 different browsers. I had lunch with 2 business guys a few weeks ago and one of them, not a technical guy, was over the moon when I mentioned Bootstrap. This has metastasized, rapidly, because its time was ripe.
Published at DZone with permission of Rob Williams, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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