Me Learning JavaScript

July 30, 2014

JavaScript has always been a pain point for me. It’s not a brutally visual language like CSS and isn’t as easy to pick up as Sass. Being a designer, I found it really hard to understand console.log or the difference between functions and methods, let alone what qualifies as an object; none of those things are on the surface.

But I need JavaScript, it’s a very useful language and it completes the Holy Trinity of front-end development. It’s in more and more places, on servers, in browsers, in text-editors; it’s not going anywhere. It’s being used to build everything from rich applications to build tools to the most annoying pop-modals on Upworthy and everything in between.

It’s been a challenge to find good resources that I can understand and digest and then implement in my daily work. One of the best things I’ve found is to think of ways/start a project to use these tools like Ember.js, which I’m currently working through. When I found that isn’t always super practical, I find it easier to break down a simple interaction (like a pop-modal) and figure out how to write it without a plugin.

Then if neither of those two methods help me understand something, I go through issues on Github for jQuery plugins I really love using and work through how to make that happen for someone. I’ve always found it simple to link up jQuery from a CDN and use jQuery plugins, follow documentation and do simple things, but breaking down some of those plugins is really informative (and rewarding or whatever). My friend Tyler Childs describes jQuery as the gateway to write and understand JavaScript more and he kinda got me hooked.

One book I’ve found really useful so far is Jon Duckett’s JavaScript and jQuery: Interactive Front-End Web Development. His previous book HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites is a highly visual book that goes through the barebones of HTML and CSS, breaking down the simple syntax, the properties and values of CSS declarations and best practices for authoring both. His JavaScript book is cut from the same cloth; I’m only about 4 chapters into it so far and I have a stronger understanding of objects, methods, properties and functions than I ever really have.

What’s this all mean though? It’s simple; I’m going to be writing more and more about the things I’m learning and how I’m using them. Whether it’s a link to tutorial on Backbone.js or a simple definition of what a JavaScript promise (‘cause I have like no idea) is or some crazy way I’ve found to make an AJAX request (or why you’d need to make an AJAX request for that matter), I’m going to share it Austin Kleon style.

I’m adjusting more of my schedule and how I handle projects better so I can structure more time to write/blog. So, expect more posts here on JavaScript and all the crazy stuff with Sass I’m figuring out how to do.

Also, much love to Dave Rupert for his patience and guidance and super-awesomeness (that he should bottle and sell to the general public) and to Tyler who will probably need to explain what a RESTful API is at least 3 more times for me (he’s the best).