Javascript: The Cool Parts

So far, as I’ve been learning JavaScript, many teachers and teaching resources really start off by focusing on the JavaScript syntax. I learned Java in the CS106A course before, so the JavaScript syntax is not really a big problem for me. Sure, JavaScript is different than Java, so I will continue learning about those differences, but I guess it was hard for me to enjoy learning JavaScript without much of a context.

By context, I mean that I don’t fully grasp the power of JavaScript. When I built my first app in Ruby on Rails, I used Twitter Bootstrap, which takes care of a lot of the main components of JavaScript, so it’s not as visible to me which parts are JavaScript vs HTML5 vs CSS vs Embedded Ruby for that matter or even why I would want to know JavaScript (since I can already build an app pretty much without touching it).

So yesterday, I asked my Dev Bootcamp mentor Alan Andrade, a Rails web developer at WellnessFX, to show me some of the ways he uses JavaScript on his projects. He also confirmed that he works with JavaScript about 50% of his time at his job, which is a number I heard from other developers as well.

One of the things Alan built with JavaScript was a real-time chat on a Mexican Radio website. You can now chat with others as you listen to the live radio. Pretty awesome! He also explained that I can use JavaScript to improve my user experience by adding overlay forms on pages – don’t you just hate it when you have to go to a new page to fill out a form and you’re not sure whether you’ll be redirected back to your original page you want to continue reading?

I really walked away wanting to focus more and more on the cool parts of JavaScript in addition to continuing to pick up the basics. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be working on  very heavily front-end apps that involve lots of JavaScript and JQuery and maybe even some advanced stuff like backbone.js and node.js. I’m learning this stuff!

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