Newfound respect for JavaScript

Around the year 1999 I began writing my own JavaScript code as opposed to copying and pasting it from other sources and only marginally modifying it.

In 2004 I practically discovered AJAX (XmlHttpRequest in particular) just before the hype started and I have been doing more and more JavaScript since then.

I always regarded JavaScript as something you have to do, but which you dislike. My code was dirty, mainly because I was of the wrong opinion that JavaScript was a procedural language with just one namespace (the global one). Also, I wasn’t using JavaScript for a lot of functionality of my sites, partly because of old browsers and partly because I have not yet seen what was possible in that language.

But for the last year or so, I’m writing very large quanitites of JS in very AJAXy applications, which made me really angry about the limited ways you could use to structure your code.

And then I found a link on reddit to a lecture of a yahoo employee, Douglas Crockford, which really managed to open my eyes.

JavaScript isn’t procedural with some object oriented stuff bolted on. JavaScript is a functional language with object oriented and procedural concepts integrated where it makes sense for us developers to both quickly write code and to understand written code even with only a very little knowledge of how functional languages work.

The immensely powerful concept of having functions as first class objects, of allowing closures and of allowing to modify object prototypes at will makes turns JS into a really interesting language which can be used to write “real” programs with a clean structure.

The day when I have seen those videos, I understood that I had the completely wrong ideas about JavaScript mainly because of my crappy learning experience so far which initially consisted of Copying and Pasting crappy code from the web and later of reading library references, but always ignoring real introductions to the language («because I know that already»).

If you are interested to learn a completely new, powerful side of JavaScript, I highly recommend you watch these movies.