The never ending journey through knowledge …

It’s amazing, isn’t it ? I read “Ajax: A Beginner’s Guide” by Steven Holzner and learned basics about Javascript and Ajax, and I learned that there are many Javascript frameworks out there making it easier to use these technologies – one of it is Dojo, a quiet popular one. I read  “Learning Dojo” by Peter Svensson and through this book I learn about alternate Javascript frameworks like e.g. JQuery, another popular one. Since also some people argue this to be better than Dojo ( certainly others argue the other way around ) I become curious and now started reading “Beginning JavaScript and CSS Development with jQuery” by Richard York. Among the first things I learn from this book is that there are other Javascript frameworks out there: base2, Yahoo UI, Prototype, SproutCore.

* Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin, Und leider auch Theologie Durchaus studiert, mit heißem Bemühn. Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor! Und bin so klug als wie zuvor;

Well, that’s Philosophy I’ve read, And Law and Medicine, and I fear Theology, too, from A to Z; Hard studies all, that have cost me dear. And so I sit, poor silly man No wiser now than when I began.

Wow, you can’t win that game, can you ? You can become smarter, but never smart. With every question you answer you get a whole bunch of new ones. With every piece of knowledge you start discovering you also discover tens and hundreds more waiting for you to be discovered.

Goethe’s Faust already said it: “I know that I know nothing!”. The more you learn the more you know how true this is. And since in these fast changing times your learning pace might never be good enough to catch up with new knowledge you are always behind, aren’t you ? A single man never can catch up with knowledge “produced” by millions and billions of people.

Suppose it would be your job to recommend the best Javascript framework for a given project ( and let us assume for now and for the sake of simplicity this would be a well defined project with well established requirements ): how would you do this ? Learn about all available Javascript frameworks and come up with a decision on your own ? Hardly possible. Learning about all these Javascript frameworks actually wouldn’t be sufficient, you would have to be an expert for all those through having actually used all those for at least a few projects. Not realistic – your project would never start.

Your other option would be to find experts for all these Javascript frameworks, make them familiar with your project, put them all together and see with what decision they would come up with. If any. Hardly possible either. A little bit more realistic may be, but still almost impossible. It starts with the hurdle that you never would find all those experts nor get them all together for your project. If you would overcome this problem most likely you would see each of your experts fight for his favorite framework without getting to any decision. If a decision would be made it is most probably not made based on objective judgment, it is most likely a result of group dynamics and politics.

What will be your realistic option ? You probably will only consider the few ( one 😉 ) framework you know about and pick it. You won’t have the time nor the resources to dig deeper into knowledge available and start your project smart with the optimal decision and best framework you could get for your project. You will start it in a sub-optimal and semi-smart way, won’t you ? And you and the project will suffer because of this for the remaining duration of the project and longer, for the life time of whatever your project is putting into existence.

While this might sound a bit negative it is the natural way projects go, the way of business and life. Knowledge is changing all the time and there is never such a thing than an absolute true statement or a best answer to a given question. You always start with compromises, weaknesses and problems-. You might fix some of those later on, may be as part of your project, and this will be the root of more change to come. The cycle of change so to speak, and the reason why project managers and engineers and scientists and experts will always be busy with what they do. We will never sit back and say: “Done!”. The day this happens might be the end of everything.


One Response to “The never ending journey through knowledge …”

  1. My favorites for week 40, 2010 « Axel’s Travelog Says:

    […] Like I grabbed "Beginning JavaScript and CSS Development with jQuery" by Richard York recently and not only learned a lot about jQuery, but also CSS and how to structure web applications the […]

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