There’s no denying it. I’m just to damn lazy to be an HTML developer. This really sunk in when I looked at a tutorial for doing a jQuery Lightbox – for a client project. The tutorial was titled “Super Simple Lightbox with CSS and jQuery” but after reading it over I thought a better title would be “A really freaking hard tutorial on the inane intricacies of doing something that looks simple but in reality is a skein of HTML, Javascript and CSS that no one except an HTML Jedi Master could every come up with “.

I must say that I have a totally refreshed respect for developers who can do that sort of work and enjoy it. I look at all that code and cringe. Not that there’s all that much code but the setup and the edge cases and the IE quarkiness . . . oy. I get shivers just thinking about it.

And just a quick question to those hardy souls who do HTML dev work: can you set break points in your code and do object introspection? Because if you can’t how in the world do you ever debug something? Because HTML code looks like it’s going to need a lot of debugging time.

To me, doing something simple should be just that, simple. For instance it’s pretty rare that I ever do anything in Flex/Actionscript that seems complex. The entire app might feel complex but it’s made up of rather simple parts that all follow logically. Take a look at the CSS in step 2 of the Lightbox example. Are you kidding me? There’s no way in hell any of that follows logically.

Who knows what the long term future is for Flash/AIR. It seems pretty solid for the next 3-4 years at least. But I’m thinking I should work on my carpentry skills as a backup career just in case. Because I’d never make it as an HTML developer.

UPDATE: I never expected that more than a few of my friends would read this. Thanks to some random posting on a news site this post is blowing up with 10,000 hits a day.

To those who say, “You should absolutely learn XYZ.”  You obviously wouldn’t recommend that someone learn something you do unless your passionate about it. And that’s great. Just realize that not everyone is passionate about the same things.

I believe that we developers should think of ourselves more as code artists. There are a lot of popular methods for creating our art and they are all valid. For instance I don’t think artists get together and say things like, “A real artist knows how to paint with oils” or “Watercolor is dead. You must learn to paint with acrylics.”

I think artists are more supportive of each others craft and would be likely to say, “You make art from tree bark. That’s so cool.” Maybe I’m an optimist but I think we should be more supportive of each other regardless of the language/platform we write code in. What matters is that we create.

Note: Believe it or not I have work to do – AIR app for desktop/mobile – and so I won’t be able to respond to each comment. But I’ll approve any comment that isn’t spam or too vulgar. A little vulgar is fine though. :-)

What do you think?