Friday, January 09, 2009

Javascript tools

In the last month or so, I've written more Javascript than I had in the last several years. It's been quite a steep learning curve for me, and I'm still very much of a newbe, but here's a list of stuff that I've found useful:

  1. jQuery. There's no way I would attempt any Javascript work now without this fantastic library. It takes most of the browser pain away <cough>IE</cough> and makes working with the DOM a very pleasant experience.
  2. Firebug. The essential Javascript debugging web development tool. You are in the dark without this fantastic Firefox plugin.
  3. YUI Test. I've been doing Test Driven Development in .NET for years. There's no way I want to write significant amounts of code without a unit testing framework. The experience is not as slick as NUnit + TestDriven.NET, but I guess it's early days for TDD and Javascript.
  4. Json Formatter. I'm passing some complex Json object graphs back and forth, this neat little utility just works.
  5. Functional Javascript. I'm in the process of having my simple mind expanded by F# and functional programming. Javascript is a version of  Lisp, so get out your Y-combinators!
  6. Visual Studio. This is my Javascript editor, but it's not all it's trumped up to be. I haven't been able to get the intellisense to work, and and seems to take an age to update the syntax checking. Correct code will sit there for several seconds covered in squiggly red lines, not a great experience.

With this toolset, writing reasonably serious Javascript code is quite pleasant. I still spend most of my time looking stuff up, and a Javascript guru would probably feel nauseous looking at my code, but I've actually been having a lot of fun. Now there's something I'd never have thought I would say :)


David Alpert said...

I favor Aptana over Visual Studio for authoring and editing javascript, and CSS too, for that matter. Intellisense, code outlining, and a VI plugin, what more could you ask for?

Mike Hadlow said...

David, It's funny you mention Aptana. I downloaded it a while ago and had a play, but haven't touched it since. I think I was mostly curious about the server side javascript. Maybe I should give it a second chance.

Pete said...

I actually bought Jetbrains' IntelliJ IDE - it's a Java IDE. I bought my own license, in fact, out of my own money, I mean.

I bought it because it's such a huge improvement over VS and Aptana (IMO, of course).

Mike Hadlow said...

Pete, I'm a big fan of Resharper, so I'm ready to believe that IntelliJ must be pretty awesome IDE too :)