A Few Clarifications For Mike Drips

Leaving the easy ones aside, here’s a few things Mike Drips might want to know before he writes another article:

1) Hello?  Java and JavaScript are two separate technologies.  JavaScript was independently developed by Netscape, Java was developed by Sun.  JavaScript was actually known as LiveScript until Netscape and Sun entered into a marketing agreement, and rebranded LiveScript as JavaScript.  Netscape’s JavaScript was marketed as a lightweight complement to Sun’s Java on both the server and client side.  That’s right–the ‘Java’ part of ‘JavaScript’ is a marketing gimmick, not a technological bond between the two (however, since both are dreived from some C-variant, you’ll find inevitable similarities).

Microsoft’s JScript almost completely supports Netscape’s JavaScript.  More importantly, both are considered an implementation of ECMAScript, so you can count on a very standard base between the two.  You could make an equal counterargument that Netscape’s JavaScript almost completely supports JScript, but since only ECMAScript is the accepted standard, support for that is all that really matters.

Serious developers know there is more documentation available than just MSDN Library (while we’re on the subject, MSDN Library is head, shoulders, sternum and probably naval above what Netscape and Sun provide for online knowledge).  There’s these things called ‘books’, you see, and you can buy them fairly cheaply.  They are full of really good information.  If you insist on downloading something for free, MS provides a complete JScript reference in its Windows Script Documentation.  You’ll find the latest version at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=01592C48-207D-4BE1-8A76-1C4099D7BBB9&displaylang=en.  This download also includes a VBScript reference.

Here’s the skinny on the lawsuits: they were never about JavaScript.  Not one.  Nor were they about the fact MS built a better Java VM for Windows than Sun did.  They were about the fact that MS called their product a Java Virtual Machine, and infringed on Sun’s trademark.  And, MS wasn’t including non-MS software with its OS, even though anyone who wanted or needed the Java VM could go download it for free whenever they wanted to.  Trademark and market exclusion, not technology.

In response to

Once you get past the shock and horror of encountering the alien JavaScript files, to professionally program SharePoint you also have to deal with CSS, HTML, XML, ASP.Net, Visual Studio.Net, and your choice of C# or VB.Net. That doesn’t include dealing with Windows Server 2003, Active Directory, and the wonderful world of IIS.

All I can say is “OMG!  To program a website, you have to know how to program a website!”  Guess what–if you wanted to program for another platform, you’d still need to know HTML, CSS, XML, Apache and probably PHP and DreamWeaver.  BTW – You forgot FrontPage 2003, which is the recommended editor for SharePoint pages, and SQL Server 2000.  You only need VS if you want to build web parts.

Exactly how ‘alien’ should a technology be that has been around since 1995?  Hello?

2) The next release of SharePoint isn’t timed for Longhorn, it’s timed with Office Wave 12, which is scheduled for late 2006.  SharePoint doesn’t rely on Windows APIs now (the WSS are extensions to the web server, not a native API), so the next OS release is irrelevant.  SPS v3 will run on Win2K3 servers.

3) WSS is not a subset of SPS.  SPS is a superset of technologies that adds functionality on top of WSS.  MS does clear this up at http://www.microsoft.com/sharepoint/overview.mspx#EDAA:

SharePoint Portal Server 2003 is a secure, scalable, enterprise portal server built upon Windows SharePoint Services that you can use to aggregate SharePoint sites, information, and applications in your organization into a single, easy-to-use portal. SharePoint Portal Server 2003 relies on Windows SharePoint Services to provide basic Web hosting and document storage functions, but extends it with additional functions for navigation, search, application integration, and personalization.

This particular page might be more recent than Mike’s SP experience, but that explanation has been around for a long while.

4) You didn’t start with the “Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Resource Kit”, did you?  I guess if you don’t know how to program a website, then yeah, a lot of the SP books will be useless.  That web programming thing might have been something to look into before diving into a SP installation.

5) MS laid out a very solid plan for SharePoint in April at their strategy briefings for CIOs.  It was good.

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