World

Is the new world of JavaScript confusing or intimidating? I thought so, and recorded a video course how to feel better

Chris Heilmann smiling behind his laptop as the course is finished

JavaScript used to be easy. Misunderstood, but easy. All you had to do was take a text editor and add some code to an HTML document in a SCRIPT element to enhance it. After a few years of confusion, we standardised the DOM. JavaScript became more predictable. AJAX was the next hype and it wasn’t quite as defined as we’d like it to be. Then we had jQuery because the DOM was too convoluted. Then we got dozens of other libraries and frameworks to make things “easier”. When Node came to be we moved server side with JavaScript. And these days we replaced the DOM with a virtual one. JavaScript has types, classes and convenience methods.

JavaScript is everywhere and it is the hottest topic. This can be confusing and overwhelming for new and old developers. “JavaScript fatigue” is a common term for that and it can make us feel bad about our knowledge. Am I outdated? Am I too slow to keep up? Which one of the dozens of things JavaScript can do is my job? What if I don’t understand them or have no fun doing them?

It is easy to be the grumpy old developer that discards everything new and shiny as unreliable. And it is far too often that we keep talking about the good old days. I wanted to find a way to get excited about what’s happening. I see how happy new, unencumbered developers are playing with hot new tech. I remembered that I was like that.

That’s why I recorded a Skillshare class about JavaScript and how to deal with the changes it went through.

In about an hour of videos you learn what JavaScript is these days, how to deal with the hype and – more importantly – what great advances happened to the language and the ecosystem.

Here’s me explaining what we’ll cover:

The videos are the following. We deliberately kept them short. A huge benefit of this course is to discover your own best way of working whilst watching them. It is a “try things out while you watch” kind of scenario:

  • Introduction (01:46) – introducing you to the course, explaining what we will cover and who it is for.
  • JavaScript today (08:41) – JavaScript isn’t writing a few lines of code to make websites snazzier any longer. It became a huge platform for all kinds of development.
  • Uses for JavaScript (06:25) – a more detailed view on what JavaScript does these days. And how the different uses come with different best practices and tooling.
  • Finding JavaScript Zen (04:15) – how can you stay calm in this new JavaScript world where everything is “amazing”? How can you find out what makes sense to you and what is hype?
  • Evolved Development Environments (10:22) – all you need to write JavaScript is a text editor and all to run it a browser. But that’s also limiting you more than you think.
  • Benefits of Good Editors (12:34) – by using a good editor, people who know JavaScript can become much more effective. New users of JavaScript avoid making mistakes that aren’t helpful to their learning.
  • Version Control (09:15) – using version control means you write understandable code. And it has never been easier to use Git.
  • Debugging to Linting (06:01) – debugging has been the first thing to get right to make JavaScript a success. But why find out why something went wrong when you can avoid making the mistake?
  • Keeping Current in JavaScript (05:11) – JavaScript moves fast and it can be tricky to keep up with that is happening. It can also be a real time-sink to fall for things that sound amazing but have no life-span.
  • Finding the JavaScript Community (03:59) – it is great that you know how to write JavaScript. Becoming part of a community is a lot more rewarding though.
  • Asking for Help (05:47) – gone are the days of writing posts explaining what your coding problem is. By using interactive tools you can give and get help much faster.
  • Final Thoughts (01:11) – thanks for taking the course, how may we help you further?

I wrote this to make myself more content and happy in this demanding world, and I hope it helps you, too. Old-school developers will find things to try out and new developers should get a sensible way to enter the JavaScript world.

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You don’t owe the world perfection! – keynote at Beyond Tellerrand

Yesterday morning I was lucky enough to give the opening keynote at the excellent Beyond Tellerrand conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. I wrote a talk for the occasion that covered a strange disconnect that we’re experiencing at the moment.
Whilst web technology advanced leaps and bounds we still seem to be discontent all the time. I called this the Tetris mind set: all our mistakes are perceived as piling up whilst our accomplishments vanish.

Eva-Lotta Lamm created some excellent sketchnotes on my talk.
Sketchnotes of the talk

The video of the talk is already available on Vimeo:

Breaking out of the Tetris mind set from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

You can get the slides on SlideShare:

I will follow this up with a more in-depth article on the subject in due course, but for today I am very happy how well received the keynote was and I want to remind people that it is OK to build things that don’t last and that you don’t owe the world perfection. Creativity is a messy process and we should feel at ease about learning from mistakes.

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You don’t owe the world perfection! – keynote at Beyond Tellerand

Yesterday morning I was lucky enough to give the opening keynote at the excellent Beyond Tellerand conference in Dusseldorf, Germany. I wrote a talk for the occasion that covered a strange disconnect that we’re experiencing at the moment.
Whilst web technology advanced leaps and bounds we still seem to be discontent all the time. I called this the Tetris mind set: all our mistakes are perceived as piling up whilst our accomplishments vanish.

Eva-Lotta Lamm created some excellent sketchnotes on my talk.
Sketchnotes of the talk

The video of the talk is already available on Vimeo:

Breaking out of the Tetris mind set from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

You can get the slides on SlideShare:

I will follow this up with a more in-depth article on the subject in due course, but for today I am very happy how well received the keynote was and I want to remind people that it is OK to build things that don’t last and that you don’t owe the world perfection. Creativity is a messy process and we should feel at ease about learning from mistakes.

View full post on Christian Heilmann

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Fixing the mobile web talk at Internet World Romania

I am currently in Bucharest, Romania and yesterday talked about current issues with HTML5 and how Mozilla found solutions for them during the creation of Firefox OS.

Chris Heilmann speaking at IMWorld
photo by ?tefania Ioana Chiorean

The slides with notes are on Slideshare

There’s also an audio recording available on Soundcloud

It was good fun and I got some interesting questions from the audience.

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Mozilla at Mobile World Congress & WIPJam

It’s getting close to the end of February, and Mozilla is once again gearing up for Mobile World Congress (MWC). Last year, we made a splash talking about HTML5 and Boot to Gecko, and this year we’re back and bigger than ever, with a booth in the AppPlanet hall where we will be doing a lot of demos of Firefox OS and HTML5 apps.

Being at WIPJam

We will also be back at (and helping to sponsor) WIPJam , the biggest developer event at MWC. Last year Christian Heilmann spoke about HTML5; this year we will be giving talks and workshops on HTML5 apps, Firefox OS, and showing off developer tools for Firefox Marketplace and app creation. WIPJam has gotten pretty big, with 3500 people registered to attend the one day event.

Our WIPJam schedule

Here’s a quick overview of what we will be doing & presenting at WIPJam on Thursday, 28 February:

  1. An expert table where we will be answering questions and giving demos of Firefox OS, Marketplace developer tools and more.
  2. Sponsoring a Hackathon category for apps using WebAPis or WebRTC.
  3. Christian Heilmann will be back at WIPJam, giving an UnPanel on “HTML5 beyond the hype” and leading several HTML Discussion Group sessions (he’s going to be busy!).
  4. Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich & Robert Nyman will be giving a 50-minute workshop: Why Open Web Apps & Firefox OS are good for mobile developers.
  5. There also will be 4 DemoCamp presentations by developers we met at the FirefoxOS App Days in January. We’re excited that Untappd, Jaxogram, Reditr, & WordPress Photos will be at WIPJam showing off what HTML5 really can do.

We’ll be posting updates on Twitter during the show, and a recap of the event here once we all get some sleep afterwards. Also stay tuned for some exciting announcements, starting with a press conference on Sunday and continuing throughout the event.

Going to MWC?

Going to MWC? Register for WIPJam and come visit us!

Here’s the Full WIPJam agenda.

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