So, you learned JavaScript — now what?

First of all, congratulations — you chose wisely. JavaScript has evolved from being a “toy language”, “real programmers” laughed at into the language that powers the web and beyond.

JavaScript is everywhere

  • You can use it in a browser environment to make web “things” that are highly interactive. These could be web sites that respond better and are more engaging when Javacript works. They could also be apps that users install and don’t even need to know that you used HTML. CSS and JavaScript to build them. They could even be complex games and VR experiences.
  • You can also go server-side with Node. Then you can use JavaScript to build APIs, services and even full-fledged servers. You can create build processes and automate a lot of boring tasks that in the past needed a server to run on.
  • You can use abstraction frameworks to publish on the web and create binary formats for iOS, Android and others. By starting with JavaScript, you can convert into many other things — something that isn’t sensibly possible the other way around.
  • Or you can go completely wild and build robots that get their instructions in JavaScript. You can automate operating systems. You can write extensions for browsers and you can script other applications.
  • You can publish to and take advantage of NPM, a vast resource of pre-build solutions you can mix and match to build your own — more complex — solutions. This is tempting, but there is also a danger of using too much and using things you don’t understand. So, whilst we’re in a package world with JavaScript, it makes sense to remember what JavaScript is and start there.

You know the best thing though? I envy you!

This doesn’t mean that JavaScript is bad. It means that the versatility of JavaScript can be its own undoing.

Think of The Guide as the whole back catalogue of a band with all their sins of the past. Whereas “The Good Parts” is their hit single.

Starting with a much cleaner slate

You’re very welcome to disregard this advice. You’re also welcome to challenge it — after all, this is what new voices are about.

Where can you go to learn about JavaScript?

If something sounds too good to be true, often that is exactly what it is.

Many resources that tried to document the open web came and went. MDN prevailed.

Browsers are much less of a problem

There is a lot less of “this is how it is, not much we can do” and a lot more “well, that doesn’t work, can we get this fixed”.

Learning browser developer tools

Moving from console.log() to breakpoint debugging

It is great that we can now debug our JavaScript, but wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t make mistakes in the first place?

Linting — prevent bugs by not writing wrong code

Finding an editor that makes you more effective

And guess what this editor is written in? Yes, JavaScript.

Publication and build processes

A bug found by you is better than one reported by your users. Or, even worse, one that prevents people from using your work without you ever hearing about their problems.

Should creating your first project include configuring your own server?

You don’t get stuck setting them up and configuring your own computer over and over again. You can see if they work for you without the overhead of having to learn and un-learn something.

Learning materials are free and in abundance. But what’s good and what’s spam?

Contributing to projects and dealing with other people

This is what JavaScript is a about these days. We’re not dealing with a language, but we are dealing with a community of developers.

You can learn a lot by lurking and seeing what people do and how they work with each other. You also learn what to avoid and what kind of developer not to become.

You’re new here. Be that new person and a better one than those who annoy you

There is a lot to choose from. No need to fill your life with more drama, when all you want is to make your mark as a creator.

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