Thoughts on software and life.

Saturday February 22

dhtml memories

I was recently contacted by a gentleman named Jeremy McPeak, who informed me that there are folks out there who have fond memories of SWAT, a DHTML API I wrote back in 1999. He asked if I could dig it up and put it back on my site, which I have done.

This email has spun me onto a sentimental journey, back to a time when my every thought was focused on doing cool things with DHTML. I nearly killed myself trying to squeeze every ounce of power out of the web browsers that were popular at the time (Netscape 4.x and IE4/5). Back then, Mozilla was a festering mess of code, not suitable for human consumption. Now, Mozilla is still a gigantic mess, but at least the product has become usable ;)

My, how times have changed. Back then, I used to curse the fools who had engineered these browsers that made my life so miserable. Now, it is strange to think that I have become one of those fools. The fact that I now understand the way a layout engine works gives me a very interesting perspective on the code I wrote in the old days, when it was all black magic.

Anyway, back to SWAT. I began creating it as a hobby, but I was eventually hired by an internet company that actually paid me to work on it. I joined an R&D division that was focused on developing an app that would use SWAT for its front end. Well, that was 2000, year of the crash, and of course that company tanked. The project died and my code was never used. It has been sitting on a CDR in my apartment ever since.

The sad thing is, this DHTML API evolved into something very powerful. Sadly, my demos don't work in Mozilla or IE6, but it should be easy to get them going again. I think I know what I'll be doing this weekend :)

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