SOS

Shane O'Sullivan's technical blog… really ties the room together

Archive for June, 2007

Is Dojo being ignored by developers?

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on June 19, 2007

The two main areas of interest for me over the last year or two, blog-wise that is, have been the Dojo Ajax toolkit, one of the more popular open source JavaScript toolkits, and Ubuntu Linux, the very popular operating system that is seen by many as the best chance Linux has of succeeding on the desktop.

Due to the fact that my blog is hosted on WordPress.com, I am provided with very detailed statistics on which blog posts are more popular, what days they are accessed on etc. Looking at these, a very definite trend has become apparent

While the number of hits received by the Ubuntu blogs remains more or less steady, hits on Dojo blog posts falls dramatically on the weekend.

While this is not an exact measurement by any means, it points to a worrying possibility. People are obviously working with Ubuntu on their spare time, installing it, upgrading, adding applications and window managers etc, and need help doing this. They are personally interested in Ubuntu, not just professionally. This is one of the main reasons for Ubuntu’s success – people are excited and motivated by it. They want to work and play with it on their own time.

This does not seem to be the case for Dojo.

Dojo has the backing of many large and small companies, including two I have worked for, my previous employer IBM, and my current employer Curam. Both of these are attracted to Dojo for a number of reasons, chief among them being it’s good design and wide range of features. The very large size of the toolkit is not a problem for them (and corporations in general) because it will be included in websites that employees will use to do their everyday work tasks (e.g. using a corporate installation of IBM WebSphere Portal), so the JavaScript is cached and the performance hit is avoided.

However, for hobbyists, this is not the case. A person might only visit a single page on their website, and a ~200KB overhead for perhaps something simple like a collapsible menu and some fading effects is simply not feasible. I’ve experienced this recently when writing a simple website for myself - all I wanted was some fading/sliding effects, but the huge overhead just wasn’t worth it. And I am a very big supporter of Dojo (I’ve contributed code even – here and here), and use it every day at work.

The Dojo team are working hard on the 0.9 release, which is addressing many of these issues, bringing the base size down to a more manageable size (at time of writing dojo.js is down to 68KB). I look forward to the day when my site statistics change, when Dojo can stand on the shoulders of many thousands of enthusiastic hackers rather than being held up by a few big corporations. I really do.

However, this does not seem to be the case today. Version 0.9 has a lot of work to do.
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Posted in Ajax, Dojo, Javascript, open source, Technical | 5 Comments »

Dojo Charting example to show website statistics

Posted by Shane O'Sullivan on June 15, 2007

I’ve created an example usage of the Dojo Charting engine, which you can find at http://www.skynet.ie/~sos/pageStats.php. View the source to see how it works.
It’s a modified version of the unit test available with the Dojo toolkit, but used in a specific scenario – in this case, to graph the page impressions for my personal website . The JSON data on the page is dynamically generated by PHP, however all other processing is done in JavaScript.

You can filter the data to show info on any combination of pages, and also use a number of different chart types.

The code is well documented, so should be easy to follow.
Some other good examples of using the Dojo Charting engine can be found here and here.
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Posted in Ajax, chart, charting, Dojo, dojo.charting, Javascript, json, open source, php, Technical | 12 Comments »

 
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