jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
For those of you reading on Planet GNOME, I'm Taryn, one of the interns brought in as part of the 2012 Outreach Program for Women. And I'm in ur dev site writing ur JavaScript docs. The kind that are made for absolute newbs like me, as opposed to the detailed stuff which either assumes that you're using C or assumes that you already know what you're doing.
In the 80s, most computer users had practically no, or only basic, training on operating systems and applications software. However, software design practices continued to implicitly assume knowledgeable and competent users, who would be familiar with technical vocabularies and system architectures, and also possess an aptitude for solving problems arising from computer usage.

Such implicit assumptions rapidly became unacceptable.

-- Mads Soegarrd, The History of Usability, emphasis added
Now, I mostly do writing for a living. I've only done programming off and on, for personal projects or websites. And when I signed up for this internship, this is what it looked like to write a GNOME application in JavaScript:
#!/usr/bin/gjs

// Initialize GTK+
var Gtk = imports.gi.Gtk;
Gtk.init(null, 0);

// Create window and give it a name
var sampleWindow = new Gtk.Window({type: Gtk.WindowType.TOPLEVEL});
sampleWindow.title = "Welcome to GNOME";

// Connect clicking the X button to the window's destroy signal
sampleWindow.connect("destroy", function(){Gtk.main_quit()});

// Show the window
sampleWindow.show();

// Start up the application
Gtk.main();
I saw this, and my mind was blown. It was just like the books I had when I was little, where you type in the programming code on your Commodore 64 and write your own computer games. I could write my own GNOME apps, using what may be the world's simplest "real" programming language! Then I could explain what I learned to others, and pretty soon the world's awesomest free desktop could take advantage of things like Mozilla's Webmaker initiative, where they're going to teach people how to code ... in languages like JavaScript.

As I quickly found out, though, this is what a GNOME application is actually supposed to look like.

Fortunately, I have by now mostly finished panicking, and I actually understand what's going on in that and several other code samples. My amazing mentor and I are gradually figuring out what JavaScript code does what, even though there's basically no beginner-oriented developer documentation for it ... which, again, is where I come in. Theoretically, I should be better-prepared to explain this stuff to newbs since I am one myself.

Hopefully, by the end of this summer I won't be one anymore. And hopefully, those 14-year-olds learning how to write for the web will be empowered to write their own GNOME applications as well.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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