reptile7's JavaScript blog
Thursday, August 25, 2005
The DevGuru Redesign
Blog Entry #20

On its Copyright page, DevGuru states, "We reserve the right to change and/or update this site at any time and without prior notice", and on Thursday, August 18, DevGuru did just that, rolling out a redesigned Web site. The URLs of the DevGuru JavaScript and HTML "Quick References" now have different pathnames, so my many "deep links" to DevGuru Web pages are all null and happens to the best of us, I suppose...

"But what about the redesign itself?"

The loss of my links wouldn't be so bad if the new DevGuru were an improved DevGuru, but it isn't, at least as far as the JavaScript section is concerned.

"But are sequels ever as good as the original?"

Good point, but come, let us count the ways that DevGuru's new JavaScript Quick Reference gets my goat...

(1) Ditching the index map

The best feature of the old DevGuru JavaScript Quick Reference was that every page thereof had at its top an image map (more precisely, two image maps) that indexed and linked to the various subsections of the Quick Reference:

This truly useful accessory is now gone.

(2) Ditching the methods and properties pages

The new DevGuru JavaScript Quick Reference no longer has separate pages for JavaScript methods and properties; in their wake is a Main Index containing a mishmash of objects, methods, properties, and event handlers all on one page.

"But neither JavaScript Kit nor IRT has separate methods and properties pages."

Indeed, they do not. But sinking to the level of others should never be on the menu, should it now? (HTML Goodies has such pages, but they're in serious need of updating.)

(3) Unintuitive file names

The HTML files defining the Web pages of the old DevGuru JavaScript Quick Reference had intuitive names - window.html, document.html, image.html, etc. - that facilitated interpage navigation. Suppose you were at the form object page, and you wanted to go directly to the text object page; no problem: simply highlight "form" in the Address Bar URL:

then type in "text" and hit return/enter to get to your destination. Unfortunately, page hopping of this sort is now not possible because the underlying Quick Reference files have been renamed numerically (the document object page corresponds to a "10629.html" file, for example).

(4) Removal of browser limitations

DevGuru formerly placed and symbols next to those JavaScript properties that are specific to Netscape and Internet Explorer, respectively. Inexplicably, this information has now been edited out.

(5) Command statement style

Before: window.defaultStatus( = "message")

After: window.defaultStatus( = "message")

Let's see: we've (a) subtracted the color coding of the statement's parts, (b) unboldened the text, (c) shrunk the font size (the site's fonts are now smaller across the board, actually), and (d) rerendered the text in a difficult-to-read silvery color (whose hex code, appropriately enough, is "666666"). Can anyone in his right mind view these changes as stylistic improvements? Paging Leonard Pinth-Garnell: we've got a contender for the next episode of "Bad Web Site Redesign".

"The punctuation on your own blog displays rather faintly."

Well, I'm not very happy about that, either.

(6) Constructor and prototype madness

Bizarrely, the individual pages of all of the objects on the new DevGuru JavaScript Objects page (whose object alphabetization has been botched, you'll notice) now list, in their Properties sections, "constructor" and "prototype" properties. As noted in the previous entry, these properties are indeed applicable to JavaScript's predefined core ('built-in') objects, but of all of the host objects that JavaScript makes use of, only the Image and Option objects are constructible, and neither of these objects has a constructor or prototype property, as you can verify from Netscape's reference material, and because only those objects that can call constructor functions have the constructor and prototype properties (or at least this is implied by DevGuru's prototype property page), it follows that none of the other host objects have these properties.

BTW, the definition of the constructor property should read: "This specifies a function to create an object's property prototype and is inherited by all objects [i.e., by all constructed instances of an object] from their prototype."

(7) And dial-up users, beware: DevGuru's pages definitely load more slowly than they used to.

And that about does it...having said all this, we will continue to make use of the DevGuru resource, as needed - as Sting once famously said, "When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around" - one can only hope that at least some of the shortcomings cited above will be rectified in due course.


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