Assembly Language of the Web

I was watching this video interview with Dion Almaer of Google and it reminded me of a view that I have, and that I think is shared within the WebDSL team. It might be controversial, maybe it’s not. The view is that we see (X)HTML, CSS and Javascript as the assembly languages of the web. I feel that, although coding HTML, CSS and Javascript was fun for a while — we can do better. What you’d want is a higher-level language (be it WebDSL or GWT or whatever else) that abstracts from those low-level languages. I think there are better languages to be designed that can be compiled to a combination of those three.

GWT is the most mainstream implementation of this. You feed it Java code and it produces HTML and Javascript. We do the same in WebDSL (although we did not base it on Java). Web development is hard, and frankly, annoying because you have to deal with differences in browser implementations, browser versions and so on. All stuff you don’t care about. The solution is to abstract from that, and come up with a language + compiler that generates the browser-dependent code for you so you can focus on the problem at hand rather than spending 2 hours fixing the lack of support for CSS’s a:hover in IE 5.5 (or whatever, I don’t know zip about CSS).