Recently in JavaScript Category

Tackling the Technical Tome

» What is the best way to learn a new technology? I'm talking about the kinds that come printed like hieroglyphics on the pages of a hefty technical tome. What's the most effective way to assimilate this information? .. to master the technology .. in order to wield its Mojo. Like a Jedi does with his lightsaber.

Javascript's Javan RhinoI read somewhere how the average programmer reads less than one technical book per year. Surprising, no?

I enjoy learning about & mastering new technologies. Always have. The more powerful the better.

But you neednt read many technical books in order to understand why they're considerably more challenging than your average armchair novel.

Back in '07, after web-hacking my way thru the site for several years, I read this book on XHTML & CSS. Cover to cover.

What a difference that made! Night-n-day. Suddenly the mojo was mine. No more struggling to figure out why things werent working the way I expected.

That particular title weighed in at a respectable 650 pages. But it contained plenty of fluff. (I actually like that kind of fluff. Another big deal was learning the Unix shell .. for help with VPS server administration. Very powerful. Things that used to take hours, now take minutes.)

Javascript | The Definitive GuideWrestling the Rhino

But those 650 pages are nothing compared to the 1100-page behemoth sitting beside me here now.

I must admit » this thing looks intimidating. Formidable. Daunting. Sometimes I swear it snorts at me.

But heft alone is not my only reason for dismay. Each page comes chock full of technical terms, unwieldy jargon that must be mastered if I am to have any hope of accessing the power it contains.

How I would *love* to upload the contents of this monster (.. into my brain) .. all in one shot. You know, like they do in the Matrix. But that option doesnt seem feasible. So .. we're left with the old, standard method » reading. Ugh.

I've been working on this Javascript book, off-n-on now, for several months. So I have plenty of experience dealing with such adversity.

This is not a mountain, I've come to understand, that cannot be surmounted by sheer enthusiasm alone. I mean, if I could stay awake for a week and power thru this thing, I would. But that aint how it works. (At least, not for me.)

In a strange, counterintuitive way, pure passion actually seems a hindrance here. Because passion brings frustration. More passion » more frustration.

I get a running start (passionate, enthusiastic) .. before heading up the Javascript hill. Only to find myself soon running out of steam .. exhausted, having made pitiful little progress.

What's required here is not so much passion or enthusiasm, but rather sustained, steady effort. Methodical focus. You know » the tortoise and the hare.

Anyway, after getting gored by the rhino a few times, I started to glean a few insights .. strategies for dealing with an intimidating 1100-page tome. So I've had to regroup and reassess my approach.

» It has been only two months since I set my sights on learning Javascript .. shortly after I discovered that HTML5 is coming, and that HTML5 is all about » Javascript. I continue to make progress (.. reading Flanagan's 1100-page Definitive Guide) .. tho not nearly as rapidly as I'd like.

Learn Javascript with Flanagan's Definitive GuideI get bogged down, particularly, whenever sections discuss OOP (.. Object-Oriented Programming) cuz I never learned OOP when studying PHP. (OOP was covered in the next video tutorial, titled » Beyond the Basics.)

Reading the sections on OOP makes me feel like my feet are tramping thru mud. Muck. Slow-going. Tho even there I'm now starting to make progress.

At first, the impression I got about programming .. was that » it was very much about » SYNTAX (.. how to use periods, capitalization, semi-colons, spaces, curly braces, comments, key-words, etc). And certainly, that's where all programmers start.

Programming is About » Building Things

But now the idea I get .. is that programming is about » BUILDING THINGS. All these things I'm learning are for the purpose of building programs. (Hopefully cool ones.) It was a distinct shift in my thinking.

A cool shift, I might add. Cuz syntax suks. Nothing much creative about syntax. But programs let you do nothing without proper syntax.

if I omit a period or capitalization here using english, or mispel something, you'll still know what I mean But not so with a programming language. No sense of humor do they have when it comes to getting creative with syntax. ERROR is their only response.

But getting back to the notion of building things .. programming is very much about » methods to control complexity. No problem to code up a simple 'hello world' function. The problem, rather, comes as the program grows in size and scope. Anybody can build a doghouse. Skyscrapers are another story.

Programming is Nietzsche

» It surprised me to learn that .. Javascript (and most programming languages) require no spaces.

The Places We Live .. that have no space In other words, you can use all the spaces you like (.. to improve, for example, the readability of your code) ..

.. but programming languages themselves just ignore white space (.. especially when you use optional semicolons to separate your statements).

That torqued my cranium nicely. Tho not sure why. Maybe cuz it's clear that the Englishlanguageneedsspacessobadly.

Still plowing thru Javascript. Got a little sidetracked there, learning about Unicode, ASCII, UTF-8 (the 8-bit version of character encoding that all my new web pages use) and UTF-16 (the 16-bit UCS Transformation Format that Javascript uses). Surprising amount of info contained there .. for something most of us take for granted.

Friedrich NietzscheProgramming is Nietzsche (Values)

Another little curio I've stumbled upon is:

• Programming (it seems) is very much about » values.

Nietzsche (it seems) is very much about » values.

■ Therefore, ipso facto » Programming is Nietzsche. =)

Wouldnt Nietzsche make a good name for a programming language?

What are your values? Your highest values. Do you live your life in a manner that is congruent and consistent with them? (Do you dare?)

Nietzsche did. (And he went stark raving mad.)

PS - For months (.. as I've studied programming) I've been on-the-lookout-for parallels or intersections (connections) between's Nietzsche's values and Programming values. Tho I never found what I was looking for. Not even a loose thread. Frustrating.

Nietzsche's 'values' are really about » morals & priorities.

While Programming values are about things such as » numbers (.. 1,2,3), "strings" (.. of text), booleans (.. true/false), arrays (.. ordered lists), objects (.. unordered lists of property/value pairs) & functions (.. code that can accept an input (argument, parameter) and spit out a value).

In other words we're talking about » variables. Which are values that change.

Two totally different sets of semantics. So I'm surprised by how the non-existent connection finally played out. I mean, the syllogism was obviously meant as a joke. (I did have a class in Logic, which was one of the better uses of my college time.)

Move #26 & Javascript Curios

» This is the first entry I've ever written without an Internet connection. Feels weird. We're moving, so the ISP account was cancelled. Later I will find a connection and post this.

Moving truckEarly last night I was wandering the neighborhood, laptop in hand .. checking the strength of the various wireless signals I found there.

Lots of them. Only one was unsecured, but it's signal was too weak to sustain a connection.

So I started knocking on doors & ringing doorbells. You know .. like the neighbor who comes looking for a cup of sugar.

"Excuse me. I live right over there and we're moving next week, so our internet was canceled. Do you happen to have a wireless connection I could piggy-back on for a few days?"

Everybody seemed eager to help, but nobody could remember where they put their WEP password. I finally gave up waiting while they looked.

One guy said he gave his password to his neighbor. He called her to ask if she still had it, but she wasnt home, so he left a message. Lets hope.

Guess I could just run a 100-foot length of CAT5 network cabling over the fence from the neighbor's house. But I'm not that desperate. (Yet.)

None of the connections were very strong. And even the ones identified as 'good' (while standing in front of their house) .. would fluctuate.

Anyway, it feels weird to write this with no internet connection. I will not be able to search for and add related graphics & images. With writing, I've found .. you need to stay in practice .. to keep the gears oiled. Or they start to rust. So writing seems more important than posting. But an audience always adds the thrill of exposure.

Guinness Book of Records

I have moved (so far) 25 times since my 18th birthday. I grew up in the same house my whole life .. but after that » on the move. A rolling stone gathers no moss. This will be move 26.

Do you know anyone who has made more moves (.. since turning 18)? Nobody I know does.

I'm gonna call the folks at Guinness. Perhaps I qualify for an entry in their book of records. The Dog may have me beat, but the only 'Guinness' he cares about flows out of a chrome tap.

Every time I move, I gain more admiration for Gandhi .. who, when he died, had only 7 possessions. A bowl, a robe, a holy book, pair of sandals, bifocals and a couple other things.

Julie would limit her belongings to the things she could carry in 1 trip with her convertible VW bug (.. I thot that was cool) .. 'til she got that couch .. that green couch she loves.

The Time is Right to Learn JavaScript

» If you review the Intro to PHP at w3schools, you'll find Javascript listed as one of the items there under the heading » What You Should Already Know. That's interesting .. cuz you dont need to know Javascript in order to learn PHP.

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, 6th edition, released May 2011 I know .. cuz I've been learning PHP, and I dont know JavaScript. (Rather, I know about JavaScript .. specifically its dot.syntax - from

[ Note the converse is not true. PHP is not listed as a prerequisite for learning JavaScript. (Only item listed is HTML. Heck, not even CSS.) ]

PHP code is executed on the web server. JavaScript, on the other hand, is executed on your local machine (.. in your browser). Two totally different environments.

Most web people, I'd imagine, learn Javascript (browser scripting) before they learn PHP (server-side scripting).

This seems to be the natural progression of things. In other words » first HTML (page structure & conent) » then CSS (presentation & styling) » JavaScript (behavior) » PHP/MySQL (server-side mojo).

HTML5 logo» HTML5 Makes This a Good Time

Recently I've been learning HTML5. The longer I look, the bigger HTML5 seems. From what I can see, it promises to be a major step forward for the Web.

The main reason for its geeky coolness (by far) is the new HTML5 API's. (I count 31 of them.) As Erik says, HTML5 means » more power to the browser as a programming platform.

And the language HTML5 uses to exercise this power? .. that's right » JavaScript.

In HTML 4, for example, you need to specify JavaScript as the language inside the script tag (i.e. » <script type="text/javascript"> ). In HTML 5, on the other hand, you neednt specify (rather merely » <script> ) .. cuz JavaScript is assumed (.. as the default scripting language for an HTML5 web page).

So it's clear, even from my limited vantage point .. as a non-professional web-hacker .. that the time for learning JavaScript has arrived.

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