Dustin Diaz on JavaScript

Gosh, it’s hard to believe it’s the end of October already…It seems that just some weeks ago it was still June…how time flies. It’s still October but feels like December – real chilly. Another sure sign of the date is that downtown was all but overrun by witches, lions, and devils. It’s Halloween all right.

Well then. Last night I had the pleasure to attend a presentation put on by Dustin Diaz, a super JavaScript coder who works at Google. The Better Web Posse managed to convince Dustin to do a little presentation for the local webmasters. It started at 7PM at the Sticky Wicket pub. Quite a turnout, there had to be 50 people there.

With a laptop and projector, Dustin’s focus was on the growing maturity and capabilities of JavaScript. The language has had a bad rap in recent times for enabling cheesy (and annoying) animations and other similar effect, all the way to making cross-site scripting and browser hijacking possible. But it’s power and appeal has improved recently.

I have been doing some reading of late on the things that can be done with JavaScript…DOM manipulation, unobtrusive scripting, progressive enhancement, AJAX… the list goes on and on. And the language has become more powerful and usable, with being able to use function/object prototypes, closures, delegates…I’m not sure I’ve got a grip on it all yet!

But Dustin put on a good presentation, showing how certain code snippets can be dramatically improved and shortened by introducing anonymous functions and function prototypes. He also showed some brief examples of snippets using various JS libraries available today, such as Yahoo UI, Prototype, and jQuery. Great stuff.

JQuery has piqued my interest lately…I don’t do JavaScript much, and have just done basic coding with it, but am now aware of several advantages jQuery over straight JS…cross-browser capability (important for web devs, what with the different browsers out there), chainability, and compact resulting code. I must read some more on this…

It was a great chance to hear Dustin speak, and I’ll hope for more similar opportunities in the future.