Scott Hanselman

Recent JavaScript Jabber Podcast - Microsoft, not Microsoft, and the Web

August 21, 2013 Comment on this post [41] Posted in Javascript | Podcast
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loraxI was a guest recently on a podcast called JavaScript Jabber. I enjoy checking out other folks' podcasts and how they run things. I actually talked to the guys about sound quality for about 30 min before the actual recording started.

Their show is about JavaScript exclusively so we spent about an hour talking shop.

Here's a few quotes...yes, I'm quoting myself. On my blog.  We talked about Open Source:

I don’t care if it’s not Entity Framework. If you want to use NHibernate or RavenDB or CouchDB, dude, knock yourself out. But ultimately, the dirty little secret about Microsoft is they want you to run on Windows. Okay, well you don’t run Windows. You guys run Macs. Okay. But maybe you’ll discover that Azure is actually a pretty kickass cloud service and you’ll run your stuff on Azure, which is Windows.

We talked about using the client machine more effectively:

I hear a lot of people say, "Hey, we run a web farm and we’ve got about ten machines in the farm and it just can’t handle the load. We’re going to need to buy an 11th machine." Then you talk to them and they’ll say something like, "Well we’ve got 10,000 people hitting the site," and I’ll think to myself, "Okay, you’ve got 10 machines in the farm and you have 10,000 people hitting the sites. All those people have quad processors, even if they have a phone. Are those processors really working hard? You’ve got 40,000 unused processors just sitting there and they’re waiting for your 10 processors to give them angle brackets. What if you gave them curly braces and let them do the work?”

I think the podcast turned out fairly well, although there was a little tension as I felt I was being asked to make declarative statements and defend historical stuff I didn't work on. I think I made it very clear that my opinions about the industry are just that, opinions, and mine alone. That said, we talked about node, JavaScript in general, the way the industry is moving with respect to where work happens (client vs. server) and a bunch of other things.

They called this episode "JavaScript Strategies at Microsoft with Scott Hanselman." Other than the "with Scott Hanselman" part, this title is problematic.

The hosts are fine folks and I had a pleasant time. I think because of the title of the episode this particular episode has been getting a LOT of Tweets and appeared on Hacker News and Reddit for a short while. I wouldn't have chosen this title, myself.

  • It implies I have anything to do with JavaScript at Microsoft.
    • I don't. I do work in Azure and Web Tools and I often give my opinions on the JavaScript Editor, on what we do with Node, and how frameworks like Ember and Angular will be presented in VS, but I am not in charge of anything. I give feedback just like dozens (hundreds?) of other random folks inside the Big House.
  • It implies I'm some how strategic, strategically involved or know strategery within JavaScript at Microsoft.
    • Again, JavaScript on the client is the Chakra engine and the IE team. I don't work for them, no do I claim (and never have) to speak for them.
  • It implies I'm a spokesman for Microsoft.
    • I'm an enthusiast and a teacher, but not a marketer or spokesman. I speak, and yes, I do have this blog, but it's mine and its writings and opinions are mine. I often write about Microsoft stuff because I work there, but I worked elsewhere for 15 years and blogged that also. I blogged and podcast before I got to Microsoft and I will continue to blog and podcast after I leave. I am not my job.

I would encourage you to check out the podcast episode yourself and see what you think. It also includes a complete transcription, which is a nice touch and very important.

Sponsor: A big thanks, and a welcome to Aspose for sponsoring the feed this week! Check out their Aspose.Total for .NET has all the APIs you need to create, manipulate and convert Microsoft Office documents and a host of other file formats in your applications. Curious? Start a free trial today.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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August 21, 2013 2:38
I think overall the show went well. I also think that these guys are young not so well rounded in the world of IT. I would bet that their whole world perspective revolves around front end web development, and not building serious large scale line of business applications. So from that bent they were indirectly trying to crap on anything they could MS. Oh, and I am sorry if you really were a .NET developer and you do know who Scott Hanselman is you must be living in a cave.

Yeah I'm talking to you Scott Tissue! One day, one day you will be eclipsed ; )
August 21, 2013 2:38
Listening to the podcast, I think you handled it very well. The explanation of the history of IE and the opensource moving of the angle-brackets teams was also interesting to hear. I went to the podcast based on Rob Conery's tweet quoting the end of the podcast (which was hilarious).
August 21, 2013 2:38
You’ve got 40,000 unused processors just sitting there and they’re waiting for your 10 processors to give them angle brackets.

If only I could get the powers that be at my company to understand this concept...
August 21, 2013 2:56
The first 20 minutes were good. I love your quotes and reasoned arguments etc. The last half made me sad for the state of tech podcasts.

Poorly edited, unorganized questions lobbed at a high-value guest, and outright sabotage. They didn't even thank you, or say goodbye.

I used to listen to JS Jabber bit lets just say the attention to detail has not only waned, it has been erased.

Technical details aside (sound, editing, leveling..), you don't "pin" your guest. They did *****nothing***** to the post production on this show to make it come out in any way other than rushed, amateurish, and ... well basically pathetic.

Why even bother? If you can't take the time to even proof the quality of your work.. Why do it?

"Cool. Awesome. Paradigm Shift"

What a disappointment.
August 21, 2013 3:27
It's no Herding Code, but it'll do.

So speaking as the one person in charge of everything at Microsoft, including historical faux pauxs, what the heck is up with Microsoft? Why so evil?

TIL: I'm the last search result for "Scott" and I just about have the entire 1st page for "Scott Koon". I'M COMING FOR YOU HaGu!
August 21, 2013 5:14
Hanselminutes and JavaScript Jabber are two of my favorite shows, so this particular episode was two great tastes that taste great together. Other than the awkwardness of one guy repeatedly trying to ask if browser OS integration in Windows 8 is one day going to result in another legacy browser dead-end like IE8/XP (answer: yes), it went very well I thought. Oh and I loved the awkwardness at the end. Well played. :-)

You did a great job drawing parallels between the Microsoft universe and the non-Microsoft universe. There are many folks who are unable to bridge that gap. I've heard you speak a lot Scott, and I must say you were in rare form in this podcast. It was a blast to listen to.
August 21, 2013 6:32
Seriously? I hope you're not concerned about how this went!

It went well, and I didn't get distracted by the clear bias of the hosts and their desire to have you give the answer that they wanted to hear... that's what you expect when you go on to shows like this!

But that's where you need to go from time to time. Yes it's fun to preach to the already converted, but I also get a kick out of talking to others to see if I can make a light go off over their heads or vice versa.

I loved it, you did a great job... relax!
August 21, 2013 7:15
I personally liked the episode. Even though it sounded like you didn't enjoy the 'probing microsoft evil questions', it was actually interesting to hear you talk about it.

I think the one guys question about IE tightly coupled with the OS kinda came from a couple shows back when they had Aaron Frost on, who had spoke about IE and evergreen browsers. Saying that in a several years down the road hopefully IE10 won't be the new IE8 (XP stuck on IE8), something everyone hates, but you still have to deal with it.

It did get a little bit awkward but still very enjoyable, always fun listening to you talk, and it was nice to hear you answer questions instead of always asking them.

August 21, 2013 7:43
Hey Scott, I listened to the podcast and thought you were the consummate professional. I enjoyed your answers - informative and well presented as usual.

The JS Jabber guys seemed ok, but the ending was certainly a little clunky. But I think we're all a little spoiled - since hanselminutes is so highly polished.

Agreed, the title is a little inaccurate. Why don't you ask them to change it?

August 21, 2013 8:10
Thanks everyone!
August 21, 2013 10:03
If anything I came away with an impression of just how open minded and the breadth of technologies you know! I'm not sure many people can talk about everything from the days COM to Angular JS, but also be convincing and know exactly what they're talking about.

I also think that if someone wants to attend a talk / show they should do some investigation on who they're interviewing or watching they should do some background reading on that individual and not just box them.

You're passionate and interested in what's current and progressing the community at large, not just in what you're interested in.

And personally I think that's what came across on the podcast and they had no alternative but to resort to the Microsft argument!

So thank you - I for one was impressed :)
August 21, 2013 10:30
I'm surprised at the criticisms of the presenters. I hear this sort of talk every day at clients and user groups with REAL developers, not just the "Let's pretend we're independent but frame the questions so that all we do is gush endlessly about Microsoft stuff, deliberately avoiding the problem areas" (Yes, DotNet Rocks I'm talking about you :-P). Scott Hanselman handled the whole thing REALLY well -professional throughout with concise, clear statements that one wishes some of his colleagues could make instead of the endless marketing, bordering on outright lying (usually by deliberate omission) that we usually get from Microsoft folk on these sorts of podcast. Which is why I was one of those tweeting that every .NET developer should listen to this podcast. Great job Scott.
August 21, 2013 11:40
Scott, the are always some folks who will misinterpret you and your words.

That being said, I would say you did (as usual) an exceptional job of expressing the fact you have your opinions and they are not necessarily those of your employer. Their episode title was misleading. People will most like see this as JS jabberer's embellishment, given the way you handled the more pointed questions.
August 21, 2013 13:38
I am an avid listener of both HanselMinutes and Javascript Jabber and have been looking forward to this podcast and haven't listened to it as yet (I've been saving it for walking the dog). But reading the title I did think - "JavaScript Strategies at Microsoft with Scott Hanselman." ????? hmmmmm.
August 21, 2013 13:49
Hi Scott,

Nice podcast! I am a big fan of Mads' web essentials extension for VS and I love the way you guys are pushing Web features in developer tooling.

Incidentally, is there any news on this server side includes request ?
August 21, 2013 14:00
I really hope MS will continue IE major upgrades for Win7 after Win7 enters extended support in 2015.
August 21, 2013 16:10
Thanks for going on with these guys Scott.

It was refreshing to hear someone like you with a well rounded stack perspective share insight. Like others said Hanselminutes and JS Jabber are two of my favorites so this was fun.

Keep doing things like this it's needed.
August 21, 2013 16:20
The angle brackets vs curly braces conversation was very helpful. Definitely gave me a better perspective. I also enjoyed your comment about MS not being organized enough to have some sort of evil master plan.
August 21, 2013 16:21
"I blogged and podcast before I got to Microsoft and I will continue to blog and podcast after I leave."

I read that and all I could think was: "Breaking news: Scott Hanselman to leave Microsoft."

Got something to share? ;)
August 21, 2013 16:38
@Tim, Microsoft constitutes number of teams associated under one umbrella. The teams collaborate their work but have their own timelines. So its always interesting to see what each team is doing.

No doubt the most notorious team ever is IE team, which is now collaborating with VS team (for F12 dev tools overhaul) and getting better. My favorites are ASP, .NET and most importantly VC teams for their open communication with community members.
August 21, 2013 17:34
Summary of last 20 minutes of podcast:

"So Scott, will you publicly admit that Microsoft is trying to steal sunshine and render unicorns into butter?"
August 21, 2013 18:54
Being a JavaScript Jabber fan I have to say the vague poking at Microsoft's armour was predictable, as was the quality of Scott's defence. As a web Developer I personally don’t see the evil Microsoft people enjoy to criticise, in fact it's quite the opposite. An all-round entertaining and educational experience as always, thanks…

On a more interesting note I watch Angle Brackets and Curly Braces shortly after build and was blown away. While we often hear people talk about tooling issues and the mass of [insert noun].js library’s, I've heard very little on the SEO story.

As we can't trust the robots to run our JavaScript I feel we need to delivery an angle brackets version for SEO and a curly braces version for the user. The process of doing this means you get some code duplication and it just feels overly complex and little smelly - although that could be a failing on my behalf.

How do you feel the SEO story fits into a SPA application?
August 21, 2013 19:05
I think the thing I got out of this podcast was your defining of us older, less social developers as "dark matter" developers (or something similar... I forget). I love it! And moreover, it adds credence to my suspicions that I'm not the only developer in the world who is resistant to this new focus on client-side-centric development for enterprise applications.

Do you talk about this "dark matter" developer concept elsewhere? I'm interested to read more.
August 21, 2013 19:13
One other comment:
You cannot send a quarter million rows of JSON to the client and have them render in a table using Knockout with even the simplest KO branching/logic. You can barely even render 100 rows with a handful of KO logic statements without a large delay. I've tried. In IE8, 1000 rows can take 60 seconds to render with about 5-10 KO statements in the template. I had to switch from KO templates to jQuery tmpl templates and bend over backwards to do as much computation on the server as possible before sending JSON, but the best I could do with 1000 rows is about 15 seconds to render.
August 21, 2013 19:25
Joshua -->

August 21, 2013 19:27
To add to my quarter million rows comment: If you take KO out of the picture, this amount of data would still cause the IPAD 1 to crash.
August 21, 2013 20:44
Were those guys drunk? They sure sound like it -:)
August 21, 2013 20:45
So any practical tips of how to make the 40000 processor help in rendering the page instead of waiting ?
August 21, 2013 20:52

I cannot think of a single business instance where sending a quarter million rows (or a 1000 for that matter) would be usable in a web application...? No one is going to go through a list of 1000 records. This is where you see paging/search/filtering operations take precedence to allow the user to narrow their intended results set. I would suggest changing the User Experience to meet that of a typical use case: 20-50 rows per view.

I think this is where performance considerations scale with what would be a typical use case. Not a flame, just my opinion... but I agree that server side render is definitely more efficient for large data sets.
August 22, 2013 1:01
August 22, 2013 1:42
Not always true. It can very useful to send 200k rows to the client. Example:

Also, knockout is just one way. D3 can do millions.
August 22, 2013 2:36
Its great you have called out the hosts trying to get something out of you. I really enjoyed the first 20-30 minutes of the podcast. From there, they were throwing the "Question-spaghetti" and hoping to get some kind of sensationalist headline.
August 22, 2013 16:30
You mentioned wanting to push changes back from the Chrome developer tools to your code.

Recently I tried the Emmet LiveStyle add-in with Sublime Text and it has worked pretty well so far on my Windows machine, but i've not yet been able to get the plugin to install in Chrome for Mac.

Every now and again it does seem to stop communicating until I reboot which can be frustrating

If you haven't tried it yet, give it a go.
August 22, 2013 21:31
I loved your insights/views in the first half of the show, lots of new quotes. But it did get awkward shortly after with all the JS/IE drilling. And then you did the "evil" voice...that was epic!

August 23, 2013 8:43
Scott, you're one of the good guys, no matter what :)
August 24, 2013 15:13
Finally got a chance to listen to this (well, not that it's been "that" long). While the title was certainly not the best it was certainly provocative which is what gets traffic so I can *understand* that one.

I have to say, though, the only point at which I felt it was "awkward" was when Aaron started asking about the coupling of IE to the OS. He was having a little difficulty trying to articulate it, which made it seem even more "probing". After a bit, though, Joe summed it up pretty well. The rest of the podcast was great (aside from a lack of sound quality on Joe's end). I didn't see any real underlying motive of "sabotage" (as some drama queens have said). I have tons of respect for Joe as I've seen some of his Pluralsight courses and he always comes off as professional and pragmatic. Of course, I can't speak highly enough of Scott (of the lesser "Scotts" :-) ) and all that he's done at Microsoft and what he does for the community.

While Scott was not the right person to address the topic of IE coupling, I know where the sentiment of the questioning is coming from. When you're developing web applications on a daily basis and having to support IE7, IE8, IE9, and IE10 you quickly realize that the decisions that the IE team made (and still makes) have essentially doubled the amount of time it takes to develop these web applications. Coupling the browser to the OS is just one of those decisions. And while Safari might do the same thing, it doesn't make it a good decision. Mind you, older versions of Safari don't have nearly as much market penetration, and thus impact, as older versions of IE.

It's frustrating to deal with on a daily basis. It might not be as bad if the developer tools were at least half as good as Chrome's tools so you could just default to testing with IE, but they're not so you end up testing on IE last.

In regards to those questions being directed to Scott, it simply highlights the fact that there is not any visible community engagement by the IE team (at least from my perspective - correct me if I'm wrong) so Scott is the closest *perceivable* person to ask. Especially when you compare the involvement of the Azure & Web Tools team. There you see Scott Hanselman, Jon Galloway, Damien Edwards, et al out there on a regular basis giving talks, receiving feedback, and answering questions. Heck, you even have Scott Guthrie answering questions live online every quarter or so! We may not always agree with the decisions or direction of all the tools but there is a solid dialogue which lets the community know that they are engaged and listening.
August 29, 2013 21:36
Well Done Scott, handling a lot of tough questions (mostly targeted at your company not you).
September 17, 2013 17:36
I'm a JavaScript developer by way of Ruby, and from my perspective it was great. Thank you for appearing on their show, Scott. :)
October 21, 2013 1:48
Scott thanks for being on the show, I'm a pretty avid js jabber listener (and the js guy for the frontend dev stuff on our .net MVC project at work).

The js jabber guys do seem to have penchant (bias has a negative connotation) for the unix/mac/linux stack, (case in point their dev environment show doesn't mention VS, all emacs, etc) and while I can't fault them for that I wish there wasn't this weird made up, conflict between windows devs and the rest of the world, in general.

It is great to see MS, through guys like you and Haack try and embrace the rest of the tech out there, at least when its worth embracing. I hope that as us web/frontend devs that never had to build to IE 6/7 increases we can accept all stop looking down on MS devs. We are real people, we care about our job, and industry, and we have some really great things that everyone else might benefit from.

I loved the point about dark matter devs, and love when someone stands up for us, non silicon valley, programmers who have other business concerns aside from innovation and being cutting edge.

October 21, 2013 16:17
Just wondering Scott, what would you have titled the show?
October 22, 2013 1:24
Clive - Random guy who works on the Web offers his opinions on the rise of JavaScript

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.