Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Promote JS – give newbies a chance

Category: JavaScript

javascript on search

Do a search for JavaScript and you find a painful set of returns. The worst offender is having Java results show up. Ouch. (Remember: Java is to JavaScript as Ham is to Hamster!).

Compare to a search for Java, or C#, or Ruby, (or ….).

Ouch. We need better. To begin with the pirates of JSConf (lead by the awesome Mr. Chris Williams!) have started a grass roots Operation SEO at Promote JS. Go there, and help the cause by doing embeds like the following:

If we can do half of the work to promote this as we have with the awesome VaporJS library, then we should be in a better place.

Step 2: Come up with a fantastic landing area for JavaScript.

Editor’s note: This was posted by Dion but he had no way to push it live. I am doing this now. To find out about my personal stance on this very cool idea, check out Why supporting promotejs is a good idea.

Posted by Chris Heilmann at 1:14 pm

4.1 rating from 8 votes


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And then get on the penalty list for black hat promotion (just kiddin’ ;-).

Good initiative: it would actually be good to have multiple sources that are being promoted. But then again, can you name good documentation resource websites?

Comment by BtM909 — September 27, 2010


Comment by giano — September 27, 2010

Did my good thing of the day :)

Comment by vjeux — September 27, 2010

“Don’t worry about performance, we have squeezed every last bit out of the images…” (180×150) 45kb!!!

Comment by MagGrave — September 27, 2010

I would think the mozdev js site would be a good landing site.. :) It’s usually my goto resource.

@vjeux, here’s mine:

Comment by tracker1 — September 27, 2010

I don’t understand.

Why promote JavaScript to newbies? Would you really want every one to be an expert in JavaScript so that your job salary will decrease, as the work force supply in this field will increase?

Let the beginners play with snow.js and “animated status bar text”. That’s all they need to know. Knowledge should not be made simple, as it is a threat for people who already have it.

Comment by mihaiu — September 27, 2010

Bing gives good results… And yes i work for microsoft (start the lambaste now).

Comment by Drew81 — September 28, 2010

@mihaiu: It was the clarification of Javascript’s “good parts” around the advent of Ajax that got us here in the first place.

Comment by pianoroy — September 28, 2010


Please don’t take this personally, I don’t know you or your work.

I’ve found that, often, programmers who are threatened by growing skill in their ranks (either a larger pool of competent programmers, or those programmers growing more talented) have themselves stagnated or have little idea how to market their work and their skills. The latter is a fair limitation, and is pretty common among programmers anyway. But ultimately, greater skill among a broader set of programmers serves all programmers to some degree; it allows for more specialization, for workers to choose their work more carefully, and for us to set ourselves apart not just by our skills but by our unique talents and interests.

Programming shouldn’t be an elitist occupation. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who is essentially self-taught but has had enough interest and put in enough work to become professional. The information is out there, it’s free, and it’s empowering. The more people taking advantage of that, the better.

And on the contrary, as Javascript (in particular) has grown in reputation and programmers have flocked to the web, I haven’t seen my salary decrease. I’ve seen available jobs flourish, and it’s been a boon.

Comment by eyelidlessness — September 28, 2010


As a side note, if you’re concerned that too many people are becoming talented as they take up web programming, a cursory glance at places like Stack Overflow should be plenty of relief. Newbies still take time to get caught up, and the field moves on as they play catch up. There will always be degrees of skill in programming. By promoting improved skills among current newbies, we free ourselves to mentor them as they improve and let them mentor *their own* set of newbies who come along.

Comment by eyelidlessness — September 28, 2010

@eyelidlessness – I’m pretty sure he was kidding. (At least it’s my sincere hope)

Comment by SlexAxton — September 28, 2010

I wonder if “newbies” are actually going to learn JS, in the sense of “studying the language and becoming an expert at it”. What I’ve seen in my experience hiring front-end developers is a sincere belief that their knowledge of libraries and frameworks (such as jQuery) makes them JS developers. And that’s the point: they in fact are, as the definition of a JS developer (programmer, or whatever term you like) has changed. As in other industries, such as engineering or law, a very large part of the work requires no real “skill” in the sense that it is so well known that it can simply be taught in a 2 year college course. Outsourcing exists for just this reason. Indeed, it is why some of us build frameworks — to reduce the price of development, including labor. So while @mihaiu is probably joking, the suggested flood of competition won’t happen across the totality of the landscape, but will accumulate in the crevices and lowlands of landscapes created by those with true genius or something like it. Successful software development has little to do with perfect code, if you think about it (or have used software). The winning skills are higher-level.

Comment by nataxia — September 29, 2010

Inspired by this post, I’ve created a small JavaScript Portal. Check it out at – if anyone has any links they think I should add, hit the “recommend a resource” button!

Comment by AndiSmith — October 1, 2010

I love the BETTER JS DOGS ad. That doggie looks fierce. Where can I get one?

Comment by bugme — October 1, 2010

Can I make a naive suggestion? I’ve only recently started pursuing a deep understanding of Javascript, and while there are certainly many resources that help newbies understand Javascript more clearly, it suffers from a history of misdirected use. Before Javascript was thought of as a legitimate means for writing a complex or sophisticated piece of software, it was often poorly employed by people who lacked an understanding of the language they were using. They viewed it as a traditional language (C, C#, Java, take your pick) that lacked some of the essentials for producing production worthy code. Pair that with sluggish browsers and different implementations per browser, and it was a disaster to use.

Fast forward to the present, we’ve seen Javascript mature into a powerful and fast language. The power has been there for awhile, but it’s evidence had to be reasoned out. Now the problem is one of perception. Some people still believe that Javascript is related to Java, others see the part that says ‘Script’ and believe it to be unsuitable for anything other than simple operations. Still more users are completely oblivious to its functional origins.

We need to change Javascript’s name. It was poorly named from the offset, mostly as a marketing gimmick, and if anyone at Netscape truly knew how widespread and important Javascript would become I’d like to think they would have named it something else. Changing the name might briefly confuse people at first, and it makes the global namespace even more crowded, which as a Javascript developer I’m hesitant to do. Ajax is a process, and if you asked most non-developers you’d be hard pressed to have them explain it. ECMAScript is a standard that brings Flash with it, and would be confusing as well.

We need to respect Javascript for it’s achievements, not saddle it with the baggage of Java, the weight of XML, or the umbrella of ECMA (Jscript, Actionscript, Jscript.Net, Javascript, CriScript, EjScript, QtScript, Objective-J, etc).

It’s Multiplatform!
It’s Functional!
It’s Dynamic!

The original name was Livescript. It perfectly evokes what I believe Javascript is. You draw a line and say, look, All ECMAScript 5 compatible implementations become Livescript. Here are the new docs for Livescript, they describe the best way to handle, Asynch callbacks, JSON (LSON?), Global Variables, Namespaces, etc.

End rant!

Comment by nickpeterson — October 3, 2010

@nickpeterson how terminology can change anything it’s a mystery to me … it’s simply JavaScript, if people do not credit it, it’s their ignorance/fault. In few words, the name, as the language, does not make the developer any better and as somebody said already, the problem is that recruiters in first place are often those underestimating JS, thinking that “if he knows jQuery, he must be a JS developer”.
Finally, as I have written already, MDC is a good reference, for Gecko browsers. MDC is not JavaScript, so I am between the “hooray” and the “OMG how many devs won’t be able to apply anything in IE < 9"

MSDN is the equivalent for JScript tho … promote all of them if truly necessary ;-)

Comment by WebReflection — October 11, 2010

Totally agree – and that’s why the people who put together should be shot

Comment by fritzthecat — October 20, 2010

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