Enabling and Disabling the Mouse Wheel “Zoom” Feature on Map APIs

Microsoft Laser Mouse 7000 superimposed over a Live map of Toronto

The major map APIs provide a “zoom” feature that lets you zoom the map in or out if you position the cursor over the map and use your mouse’s scroll wheel. Sometimes you want this function enabled, sometimes you don’t. David Janes, over at his Code Blog provides the JavaScript code for:

  • Enabling and disabling the mouse wheel zoom for Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth
  • Disabling the mouse wheel zoom for Yahoo! Maps (it’s enabled by default, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to re-enable it once disabled.)



The Language Adoption Debate and “Three Stooges Syndrome”

Tim “Ongoing” Bray’s Take

Tim Bray posted a blog entry on what drives adoption of a language in which he included some tables such as the only below:

Procedural FORTRAN, COBOL, PL/1 C
Object-Oriented C++ Java
Higher-Level Perl, TCL Python, Ruby

This table of his should inspire a monkey knife fight on a number of blogs:

Web-Centric WebObjects, ColdFusion, ASP.Net, Struts, etc.,
etc., etc., PHP

Here’s an interesting one. What will JavaScript’s successor be? My guess for the short-term (by that, I mean “the next half-dozen or so years”) is “the next version of JavaScript”.

Mobile-Code JavaScript ?

The one about concurrent programming is a little more up in the air. Although there are other languages designed with concurrent programming in mind (either from the ground up or with concurrency retrofitted onto an existing language) and there have been for a while (I used Concurrent C in a course back at Crazy Go Nuts University in the early ’90s), Erlang is getting a lot of the attention these days since it has both a success story at Ericsson under its belt as well the clout of a Pragmatic Programmers book behind it. There is a feeling among some programmers (Bray included) that it isn’t going to be the language to turn concurrent programming from arcane art into mainstream practice:

Concurrent Erlang ?

Shelley “BurningBird” Powers’ Take

Shelley Powers disagreed with Tim’s assessments in her posts Flaws are in the Eye of the Beholder:

I find it fascinating when a person marks as ‘flawed’ the languages that have, literally, defined not only the web but application development of all forms. Perhaps the metric shouldn’t be on syntax, form, or function, but on usability.

Here’s her own table on languages:

'Perfect', but barely used 'Flawed', but simple, approachable, powerful, popular
Higher-Level *Ruby (every time I see 'Ruby' I mentally add, Mama's precious little…)

*I’m giving Python a slide because Python has fairly widespread use today.

Client side code (The to-be-created scripting language that will take a nice, clean, easy to use language and morph it until it satisfies the purists, while breaking faith with the millions of users just trying to do a job) JavaScript
Object Oriented Java (bloated beyond recognition with senseless additions and overly complex infrastructures) C++ (which can kick Java's ass performance and resource wise)
Web-Centric Rails (you know that thing they used for the one application?) Cold Fusion, ASP and ASP.NET, PHP

Those of you who recall Bjarne “C++” Stroustrup’s line “There are just two kinds of languages: the ones everybody complains about and the ones nobody uses” or the essay Worse is Better (or the essay that led to it or Jamie Zawinski’s commentary on it) should be feeling deja vu now.

As for Shelley’s table, I’d probably have put “PHP” where “Perl” is right now.

My Own Take

I think that right now, the “scripting languages” are stuck in something akin to “Three Stooges Syndrome”. That’s the disease where Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, being so old and frail, has so many diseases trying to get at him at the same time that they’re all “stuck in the door”. The doctors illustrated the syndrome with a model, shown below:

“Three stooges syndrome” from “The Simpsons”: All the germs and viruses are stuck in the door because they tried to get in all at once.

And since Tim and Shelley have their tables, I thought I’d make one too:

Scripting Stooge What’s Driving It
Perl Legacy: it was the original “duct tape of the internet”.
PHP Widespread adoption, drives a lot of apps, easy to program, easy to deploy.
Python Very readable, one of the 4 languages approved for use at Google (the others being C++, Java and JavaScript, according to Steve Yegge).
Ruby Ruby on Rails, which is a very nice framework from the web app developer’s point of view. That and maybe the fact that DHH is rather photogenic (although PHPer-turned-Pythoner Leah Culver could give him some competition).

Cross-posted to the Tucows Developer Blog.


23 Programming Languages Compared

Possibly inspired by articles like Tim O’Reilly’s State of the Computer Book Market (here are parts one, two, three and four of the Q1 2007 edition of this series) posts on the O’Reilly Radar blog, Antonio Cangiano decided to do a little research of his own:

Technical books are a topic that interest me a lot. From book sale figures and trends we can attempt to better understand where developers are putting their money, not only their mouths. For this article I decided to perform a small experiment, by collecting some interesting data. I considered 23 fairly well known programming languages, and searched for the top selling book (according to Amazon) for each of them. The Amazon sales rank allows us to compare the success of books representative of each language, and indirectly compare the popularity of the languages themselves.

The Top Ranking Languages

According to Antonio’s research, here are the best-selling programming language books are for these languages, listed starting with the best seller:

Top 4 programming language books at Amazon: JavaScript, Java, Ruby and SQL

  1. JavaScript (JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Amazon rank 1,227)
  2. Java (Head First Java, Amazon rank 1,799)
  3. Ruby (Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmers’ Guide, Amazon rank 1,881)
  4. SQL (Sams Teach Yourself SQL in 10 Minutes, Amazon rank 1,929)

To see the top 23 programming languages based on Amazon ranking, go visit Antonio’s blog entry.

A commenter on the article wrote:

Actionscript would rank even higher than JavaScript, since the book Essential ActionScript 3.0 by Colin Moock currently is at sales rank #346.

Interesting Languages

There are some interesting languages on this list. Although they get mentioned on Reddit and a number of developer blogs, they’re not quite mainstream yet. In spite of that, they’ve placed quite well based on Amazon’s ranking system:

An interesting set of language books: Erlang, F#, Lua and Haskell

[Cross-posted to the Tucows Developer Blog]