My notes to help learning Javascript

Patience

You need to keep it. Don’t rush, it’s alright if you are not getting it. Specially if you are from Python world. Javascript is to Python like India is to New Zeland, things are not actually as complicated as they appear, you just need to keep little patience.

Coffeescript is your friend

Coffeescript helped me learn to think in javascript more than any book. I am not saying that you should use coffeescript, but use it for learning more about javascript. If you are unable to think something in javascript, do a version of it in Coffeescript, generate javascript and try to learn. I don’t know how good is the generated javascript, but it was good enough for me to not get stuck. Emacs helped me a lot in this. I created a buffer with coffee-mode which was not visiting any file, and compiled coffee to see javascript in a split window for comparison. It really helped to avoid creating temporary files.

Don’t rely too much on books, try something real

Books can do only so much to help you. Elequent Javascript is great (or so they call it, actually I never got why it’s called great), but what a real project can teach you is on another level. Go out in wild and try to do some real project, for fun of course.

Avoid DOM and UI

DOM manipulation and Javascript have their own concepts which are most times confusing to foreigners, specially if you are already infected by JQuery. Make your aim to learn Javascript, as a programming language and do something you do when learning a new language. Make self-contained scripts which don’t need browser to work. Of course browser help when you are getting started and with ‘console.log’ you can avoid all sort of DOM manipulation, but that’s not what I mean. On the next step to getting started, when you ‘think’ you know some javascript, try to make something that involve as little DOM manipulation as possible. Try making some simple nodeJs module, or some sort of browser extension.

Focus on getting it done, learning is a bonus

It’s better if you choose to do something you want to use, or at least something you find really interesting. And focus on getting it done. All ninja skills you want to learn come as a bonus. Remember those old Jackie Chan movies in which kung-fu master make him do his household chores? Just focus on washing clothes, you’ll learn iron-fist style without knowing it, as a bonus.

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