YUI Theater: Douglas Crockford — “JavaScript: The Good Parts”

By Eric MiragliaJune 8th, 2007

Douglas Krockford speaking at the 2007 Konfabulator Developer Day.

Douglas Crockford provided a keynote talk for the 2007 Konfabulator Developer Day yesterday. His talk was entitled “Javascript: The Good Parts” — a topic of interest to Konfabulator hackers, much of whose work is done in JavaScript.

This talk, now one of five talks from Douglas up on the YUI Theater, is the most reflective one we’ve covered. Douglas takes you on a journey through the lens of his own personal experience with JavaScript — a journey from deep skepticism about a flawed, half-baked scripting language in the earliest days to a growing affection for what is now a still-flawed but surprisingly beautiful and powerful language that has “radically changed my way of thinking about programming languages.”

Once you learn to think in JavaScript, I found it completely changed the way I program. Not only that, it made be a better Java programmer. So when I go back and I’m working in the classical languages, I find that I’m writing lighter in that environment, too, even though it’s an environment that encourages…profoundly heavy programming. (28:10)

Douglas with Laurie Voss, Arlo Rose, and other KonfabulistasThe journey from skepticism to appreciation is one that many developers have followed and one that many more are, hopefully, in the process of following as web applicatons continue to attract vast amounts of our innovation and energy. At the end of the day, Douglas advises that we approach JavaScript the way Michaelangelo approached an unsculpted block of marble — that is, with an eye toward its intrinsic beauty. Through the use of tools like JSLint (which is also, apropos of this event, a Yahoo! Widget written in JavaScript and running on the Konfabulator platform), and through studying the unique properties of JavaScript’s lambda nature, he argues that we can find in JavaScript a language for writing great software and a language that will help us become better writers of software. Many thanks to Douglas and the Konfabulator team for letting us record and publish this on YUI Theater.

This presentation is available as an MPEG-4, iOS-compatible download (change the extension from .m4v to .mp4 if your video software doesn’t recognize the extension).

9 Comments

  1. Douglas, I enjoy listening to your talks. Please continue with great talks like this and the previous ones! :-)

  2. Insightful and worthwhile viewing. I have enjoyed watching many of Douglas Crockford’s talks. As the description says, this is one of the more reflective of them. Really enjoyed it.

  3. Found this on Reddit and then went and looked at some of the other clips on the YUI page. The Quality talk is awsome. Keep em coming.

  4. DC is da man! My JS improved so much after viewing these talks. Thank you DC and Yahoo!

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  8. As to standards, rather than bake a lot of type-checking overhead into JavaScript, I’d suggest that we work toward standards for documenting our code through convention and comment. Today’s IDEs are better suited for type-checking and general “saving us from ourselves” than the actual compilers or script processors. Witness JS Lint. If an IDE sees that we are using nSomething as a string, rather than a number, an IDE can tell us that while we are writing the code. We can also configure an IDE as to how much we want to know.

    Rather than have a standard way of defining a class, how about if we had a standard way of documenting a class; a way that an IDE could use to help us write better and safer programs.

    * http://scriptdoc.org/

    * http://code.google.com/p/yazaar/wiki/Taglets

    -Ted.

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