We Make It Easy, but not to learn.

I’ve been playing with the prototype and scriptaculous javascript libraries for close to a year now, but it hasn’t been until last December that I really started to embrace the platform as a development tool in my scripts. The reason for this? Lack of documentation.

I know that scriptaculous itself has a decent documentation page, what I didn’t realize is that they also kept a minimalist prototype documentation as well. I’m not sure when that was being kept up, because when I originally started playing with prototype there was basically no documentation outside of blog posts or articles on websites. It is extremely hard to start working on a new framework without any documentation on it. To make matters worst, the code itself is not documented at all.

That’s the topic of an article I read last week, If It Isn’t Documented, It Doesn’t Exist. I very much agree with that. I’ve seen several other frameworks outside of prototype and scriptaculous but haven’t used or played with them because there is no documentation. I actually say that this is the reason which really kept me from using prototype on a day to day basis one year ago. So not only do you have to learn the framework and get used to it, but while you are doing that you are forced to use new functions carefully because you aren’t too sure how well they will work or what they will do.

But lack of documentation is a problem not only with frameworks but also other projects. I’ve worked on a project based on osCommerce and didn’t find any well defined documents. It was a little confusing trying to figure out how everything was laid out and how it all fit together. The whole software package just gives me the hibby jibbies now, specially after working on an environment that is more then capably documented: Drupal. The Drupal site clearly goes over just about any portion of the program that anyone would need to know. From theme creators to module creators, to all the global functions. I’ve already used Drupal on more then one project and I’m more then eager to use it in further websites.

The difference that good documentation makes.

January 29, 2007 09:49 AM Scripting


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