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Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video

4 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Jan 27, 2007 9:12 AM by Joao Pedrosa

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Frank Sommers

Posts: 2642
Nickname: fsommers
Registered: Jan, 2002

Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video Posted: Jan 26, 2007 6:08 PM
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Summary
Yahoo's YUI project published a four-part video lecture on JavaScript by Doug Crockford, Yahoo's chief JavaScript architect and a leading authority on the language. The one-hour and forty-minute video covers virtually every aspect of JavaScript, from syntax to prototype-based objects and functional programming.
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Yahoo's chief JavaScript architect Doug Crockford has written extensively about JavaScript. This week Yahoo's YUI project made Crockford's JavaScript tutorial available online in the form of four video clips: Douglas Crockford, The JavaScript Programming Language. In the video, Crockford provides an introduction to JavaScript, and then discusses advanced topics, such as object-oriented programming with JavaScript, and JavaScript as a functional programming language.

The one-hour forty-minute presentation itself is the first segment of a three-part lecture course Crockford regularly delivers at Yahoo. The other two parts are also available: Advanced JavaScript and An Inconvenient API: The Theory of the Dom”.

Here are some excerpts from the talk:

JavaScript is without a doubt the world's most misunderstood programming language. This owes to a number of factors. First off, the name. It has Java in the name, so many people at first think that it has something to do with Java, that it's interpreted Java... or something like that. It turns out that it's none of those, it's completely independent of Java. The suffix "script" suggests that it's not a complete programming language, something diminutive... We will see that JavaScript is a complete programming language. In fact, it's a very good one... It was intentionally mispositioned at its creation by Netscape and Sun Microsystems...

The language contains some design errors, some of which have been corrected during the course of its evolution, some have not... It's probably now the world's most popular programming language, if you consider all of the platforms on which it has been deployed. But the language has problems, and we will look specifically at those problems.

It had initially some bad implementations, and the language has received a bad reputation because of those implementations. The implementations have gotten good. Very good, in fact. But the reputation of the language has been damaged.

The language has been typecast: it's known primarily as the language for the browser. The browser, as we find out from the Theory of the DOM [another Crockford lecture], is a really hostile programming environment. A lot of people think that the browser environment is difficult because of JavaScript. But, it turns out, JavaScript is not the problem there.

The books about JavaScript are almost universally bad. It's very difficult to learn the language from books, because they are full of bad examples and bad advice... The standard itself that defines JavaScript, ECMA... is not very good.

Crockford then proceeds to cover JavaScript's evolution and main features, leading up to advanced examples. In this, and his Advanced JavaScript video, Crockford illustrates that JavaScript possesses all the features developers value in modern dynamic programming languages, such as closures and functional programming features.

What do you think of JavaScript as a programming language?


Joao Pedrosa

Posts: 114
Nickname: dewd
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video Posted: Jan 26, 2007 7:18 PM
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I haven't written much JavaScript, but I've been checking out these videos, some of his (Crockford's) slides, and the YUI/YUI-ext libraries. So far I am only using the YUI CSS features, and looking forward to use more JavaScript of their libraries.

JavaScript seems consistent enough, and coming from Ruby, it does not freak me out. :-)

What's scary about JavaScript is all the misconceptions of its practitioners, though Yahoo seems to be guiding some of the interested folks, and the community that's forming around YUI and YUI-ext is going to enjoy some this help by Yahoo. :-)

Morel Xavier

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Nickname: masklinn
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video Posted: Jan 27, 2007 5:10 AM
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> <p>What do you think of JavaScript as a programming
> language?</p>

Even though it has severe warts and some missing stuff (but it's getting better with JS 1.6 / JS 1.7), Javascript-the-language is an amazing language.

The big issues with Javascript are Javascript-the-platform (the complete lack of standard library, and of an easy way to modularize code) and Javascript-the-tools (if you're using Firefox there's the amazing and now-officially-released Firebug, if you're using any other browse... there isn't)

Eddy Young

Posts: 2
Nickname: jeyoung
Registered: Jan, 2007

Re: Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video Posted: Jan 27, 2007 6:27 AM
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I admit to having an aversion to JavaScript, probably because in the early days of browsers, we were under the impression that JavaScript behaved differently on each one and ensuring cross-browser compatibility was too much work. Even to this day, I avoid JavaScript as much as possible.

Joao Pedrosa

Posts: 114
Nickname: dewd
Registered: Dec, 2005

Re: Doug Crockford: The JavaScript Programming Language Video Posted: Jan 27, 2007 9:12 AM
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BTW, nowadays it seems like many Google sites are totally generated from JavaScript? Maybe they use little snippets of HTML, but I think most of it is JavaScript.

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