Betting My Future on JavaScript

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Learning web development: an eternal work in progress

I remember using JavaScript years ago to hack together a random image box. It was a copy/paste effort of cryptic nonsense but magically it worked. I was terrified of it and in no hurry to go back for more. HTML and CSS were fast becoming my best friends and I felt no need to disturb the peace with all this var weirdness.

Then along came jQuery and websites en masse started to slideDown, fadeOut and ajax all kinds of coolness. Like many others, I learned enough to be dangerous without needing to dirty my hands with real JavaScript.

These days, we have ourselves a new .js on the block just about every day. JavaScript is no longer only an interactivity layer for websites, it is what makes HTML5 a buzz word, it is a server, it is a new framework each week and showing no signs of slowing down. jQuery is now a mature version 2.1 and used on 57.7% of all websites, with the minimalist alternative, Zepto.js, following in its footsteps.

It's now time to get out of my CSS comfort zone and invest in the future. After hearing about Node.js for the past few years, I've now installed it on my two development machines, so I can now run a local web server without starting up Apache. I don't understand the first thing about Node, but I can now use it to compile my Sass and vendor prefix my production CSS, courtesy of task runner Grunt.js.

I've starting experimenting with JS frameworks Backbone.js and Angular.js which make PHP seem tired and old.

XML always seemed nerdy and overcomplicated, but this is rapidly being superseded by JSON format, which has even found its way into my desktop code editor, Sublime Text 2 as the standard format for all configuration files. To render your JSON data, you've to choose from the many templating engines: Handlebars, Underscore.js, or for added performance: Lo-Dash.

JavaScript is absolutely everywhere, and it won't be long until my Mum has heard of it. It is high time I started to Learn JavaScript the Right Way from the many online resources such as Treehouse, Lynda.com and Codeacademy and the book, JavaScript: the Good Parts

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