I decided to learn JavaScript, again…

My first experience with JavaScript was similar to many people. I was in high school and my programming experience was extremely limited. I had a personal Web page and ended up copy-pasting and modifying some existing JavaScript code I had found on the web.

I never even bothered to read any tutorials or books on the language, but there was plenty of code to be found on the internet and JavaScript is really easy to get into. Which surprisingly, might be JavaScript’s biggest problem.

JavaScript’s problem

Fast forward years later, I learned more along the way but I never gave the language the treatment it deserved, the treatment I gave other languages.

Regarding JavaScript, non-programmers can get by without having to learn programming and developers can get by never having to invest time learning JavaScript.

While I was discussing this subject with a good friend and colleague of mine, he confided that he had zero experience with JavaScript prior to his current job and that he never took time to learn any of it. Nonetheless, he was still able to accomplish what was needed for our ASP.NET MVC project.

It took about 2 or 3 years into my professional career to learn that JavaScript was a Prototype based language and what that meant. Years later when I read about how companies were having trouble recruiting qualified JavaScript engineers it made me think about the general lack of focus on JavaScript.

I have often heard or read complaints that there is a lot of horrible JavaScript code floating around the Web or that JavaScript is just plain bad. I think a lot of this has to do with JavaScript’s low barrier to entry and the fact that a lot of people treat it as a second-class citizen of programming languages.

Sure, as a language it’s simpler than others but it’s also becoming more and more prevalent with many people talking of a JavaScript renaissance and many new cool projects appearing on the Web.

My plan

When I learn a programming language I set aside time to properly learn it. I start out by going through a good internet resource or book. I check blogs and try to find the best ones.

I try to really learn how to do things idiomatically in the language.

Ruby programmers will speak about something being done in a Rubyish way, Python programmers will talk about something being Pythonic. This is what I mean by idiomatically, writing code how it is suppose to be written in a language.

So I have decided to wipe the slate clean. I am starting over and will embrace JavaScript and really try grok it. I will treat it like I treated Ruby, Python or Erlang.

I have ordered JavaScript the Good Parts, I will read the JavaScript Guide and check the JavaScript Reference on the Mozilla Developer Network. I will also check some resources on JavaScript patterns and maybe have a look at the source of some JS libraries like Underscore.js.

If you’re using JavaScript and like many people never took the time to really master it, why not start over again?