JavaScripting across the universe

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I’ve been using JavaScript reluctantly on and off for years. I’m currently working on a project that is highly dependant on JQuery based, handwritten JavaScript. Just as Rupert described in this workshop, I am one of the world’s copy-and-paste JavaScripters, so I thought it was about time I looked at it more closely to see what I was missing. I recently took on an apprentice who also needed to learn JavaScript, so a Norfolk Developers workshop was ideal for us.

We all know there’s a software development skills shortage nationally and very much so locally and this is something Norfolk Developers is trying to do something about by introducing a series of introductory workshops aimed at those with little or no experience. Initially Norfolk Developers will be concentrating on web development skills such as HTML & CSS, JavaScript and JQuery. There are also plans for introductory workshops for iOS and Android mobile development. The group will also continue to cater for the more experienced developers with their regular series of intermediate and advanced workshops.

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We all know JavaScript is evil, right? Yes, but it’s a necessary evil and there are reasons it’s evil. This was very well explained by Rupert Redington at Norfolk Developers’ JavaScript Starter Kit, beginners full day workshop. It was created in two weeks and suffered a little because of that, but we are where we are.

What was really great about the workshop for me was that I was able to learn and understand the details of the language I had missed before, such as the different ways things are compared for equality in the language.

After an interesting and in depth introduction to the language Rupert introduced us to NodeSchool, which is a series of tasks designed to help you learn and write JavaScript one step at a time in a rewarding way. You write the code to solve a problem, run the test and it tells you whether you have it right or not. I could have done that for hours!

In the afternoon we brought together a lot of what we had learnt in the morning to write a simple one page web application which used our browser’s API (Application Programming Interface) to find our current location and an external API to look up where the nearest public toilets were to us. It was fantastic to see what we’d learnt solving a real world problem.

Rupert will be back in the summer running an updated beginners JavaScript workshop.

Words: Paul Grenyer

 

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