Entering into the crazy world of JavaScript

2017-04-23

JavaScript!?.. what’s that?

Many moons ago,

I left university with a decent understanding of OOPL (Object Oriented Programming Languages), along with a very good understanding of SQL. I entered Uni wanting to learn about computers and programming, and left with falling in love with Oracle databases and forms. Somewhere on my journey, (mostly job hunting and trying to start somewhere) I found my self doing everything else but that I studied for.

You guessed it, I.T. support help desk jobs, with no real progression into the field I enjoyed. Over time I allowed this continue, I even went on to start up my own support service (more about that later) but during those years, the world had changed the Microsoft development paradigm had also been slowly taken over by the open source community, something I was able to benefit from, as I found frameworks like Joomla and Wordpress excellent tools to develop sites with minimal fuss for my clients.

Problem is, there was this voice in the back of my head saying “your missing out on something big, and your also de-skilling yourself, stop pigeon holing your mind and venture further out into the world”

Did I listen? well yes and no…

I spent many years hacking away at my PHP scripts, and on occasion i would stumble on things like “Mootools, and jQuery”, but in all honesty I did not understand any of it and had no idea it was JavaScript based.

I would find my self viewing source code of HTML to see how something was developed, to then see these script tags and be like WTF? Then I would view the .js file in the tag and be like WTF!?!

Because to my eyes, all I would see is random strings of on structured code all in one line or in one huge paragraph often spanning the entire pages. My immediate thought was, this is generated code from some random source and I need not worry about it.

Boy was I wrong!

Years later, I finally realised “Oh shit!!” It all started on a trip overseas, where I picked up a Net Magazine to simply have a read and if I was lucky I might learn something. And that one magazine set me on path I wish I was on years ago. Thing is, the mag did not explain what it was, it was that it was filled with so much other topics that was birthed from JavaScript, I then realised I had to know re-evaluate my previous assumption.

Somewhere down the line I found Eloquent JavaScript. Now I must admit, this book is not for the faint of heart, it is good at somethings and headache in others. Everyone’s mileage will vary, depending on how you learn things.

I my self like to read from a book, where I can scribble my thoughts and circle snippets to reflect, as it helps me to remember, but also putting into practice, loading up the console in Chrome Dev Tools and trying various different ways of playing around with Arrays, and Objects.

One problem I have with books, youtube videos and other tutorials in general is they are always to contrived and far from real world uses. So relating the two can somethings be a head fuk. But I must admit the Ah Ha moment will happen eventually.

Side note: I absolutely hate “Hello World” example code, I am tempted to start a revolution to ban it from all examples.

Timing

On and off I would mess about with various different project ideas, all horrible and shameful code by the way, but it did one thing for me, it showed me the possibilities were endless on what can be done with JavaScript.

At some point in my previous line of work I came to a fork in the road where I realised I no longer enjoyed it and wanted a change, so I looked at what I was doing with my previous web development work and the little JavaScript that I knew and realised I actually liked it and as head smashing as it can be sometimes, perhaps I should see if there are career opportunities in this field.

I decided to speak to some friends of mine who where developers of God knows what at the time, but I thought let me pick there brain anyway. One said they were happy I was seeking a change of direction and web development was something I always had a knack of understanding, and tried to use it as an opportunity to work on some projects with them.

Problem was, the project was no where properly thought out, and the area they wanted me to manage was boring and I would of been reinventing the wheel. When it could of simply been solved by using an existing API. Plus I did not trust the !£$%^^£er as they never really answered my question, only saw it as an opportunity that could benefit them.

Another individual who was a lot more understanding, took the time to break down the current status of JavaScript, of which at that time a massive explosion of frameworks were coming out, so they were very enthusiastic to show me all the different things I should learn.

And boy was there a lot!! In fact I am still learning, everyday it never stops. But I chose a good time to be interested in JavaScript and using my existing HTML/CSS skills into the mix made it an easy transition in becoming a Front-End Developer.

Next

I intend to share as much of what I am learning in the hope that I can give back, as well as hopefully learn from others also.