or a long time, programming languages seemed to be getting easier and easier. We seemed to be on the brink of realizing that long sought promise of object oriented components: Chunks of code that folks could easily combine to create applications without lots of formal training in computer languages.

Then along came javascript.

I’ve been dabbling with jqGrid, which is a wonderful tool, don’t get me wrong. But I attempted to created a grid with this block of code:

        function initGrid() {
                colNames: ['id', 'description', 'start', 'end', 'indicator'],
                colModel: [
                    { name: 'id', index: 'id', width: 55 },
                    { name: 'description', index: 'description', width: 90 },
                    { name: 'start', index: 'start', width: 100 },
                    { name: 'end', index: 'end', width: 80, align: "right" },
                    { name: 'indicator', index: 'indicator', width: 80, align: "right" },
                viewrecords: true,
                width: 780,
                height: 200,
                rowNum: 30,
                loadonce: true

And got this error message in the console of the brower’s “debug” view (in the browser itself, the grid simply did not render).

XML5656: Illegal qualified name character. Line: 197, Column 32

Given that error message, what do you think might be wrong with the above jqGrid declaration?

I looked at it for a few minutes, googled XML5656 (which didn’t help) then took another look and decided that I was missing a “datatype” parameter in the jqGrid declaration.

Sure enough, when I added datatype:local just above colNames the grid rendered successfully.

I guess I’ve just been spoiled by Visual Studio where concise and informative error messages often appear almost before I’ve typed the bit of offending code.