Doug Crockford: JavaScript: The Good Parts

March 02, 2009

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By Steve Souders, Member of Technical Staff

Doug Crockford, from "The Yahoo!" (his words), gave a talk at "The Google" (again, his words) last week. The talk is based on his recent book of the same name, JavaScript: The Good Parts. Doug is a, perhaps the, JavaScript guru who has undertaken responsibility for helping the world's web developers embrace JavaScript and use it successfully to build clean, fast web applications. He is the creator of JSLint, JSMin, and JSON. (Notice a theme?)

Doug was hitting on all cylinders. I've heard him deliver this talk before, but this rendition was off the scale in terms of clarity, humor, and takeaways. He flowed effortlessly from broad observations to detail-oriented code samples.

He begins with the observation that JavaScript is one of today's most used languages, so it obviously has gotten something right. Despite this success, JavaScript has plenty of bad parts: global variables, semicolon insertion, with and eval, and more. There's confusion with false values. Consider this example:
'' == 0
0 == '0'
'' != '0'
In JavaScript, all three of these statements return true. Doug highlights other traps that are easy to fall into using, ++, and typeof.

He delivers a clear, concise tutorial on object-oriented JavaScript and closures. The most satisfying piece to me was his clear explanation of why right-curlies ("block {" all on the same line) is the only acceptable style in JavaScript.

Tune in to the video below, and follow along with the presentation. It's enjoyable and enlightening. What a great combination. Thanks, Doug!