Demystifying JavaScript with Todd Motto

Craig Buckler
Craig Buckler
Todd Motto
Todd Motto is helping to demystify some of the misconceptions about how difficult JavaScript really is. Craig spoke to him about his talk coming soon at Future of Web Design. SITEPOINT (Craig Buckler): Hey Todd. Tell us a little about yourself and what you do. TODD: Hey! I’m Todd, I’m 23, and a JavaScript and HTML5 developer. By day I’m lead front-end engineer at Appsbroker – we’re a Google Enterprise company that specializes in Cloud Platform technology solutions, which means we develop lots of fantastic software. By night, I’m an open source evangelist where I write scripts, utilities, plug-ins, frameworks and boilerplates. I’ve worked for Intel and Rolling Stone magazine during the past year and love teaching others about web and software development. SITEPOINT:
How did you get into conference talking? TODD: I started doing a few smaller presentations — nothing bigger than a roomful of people — until last year when I flew out to San Francisco for HTML5 Dev Conf. While I was there, I visited a friend at Google who invited me to teach a workshop. I absolutely loved it! I wanted to do more sharing knowledge and teaching when I was contacted by Future Insights to speak at FOWD. I’ve spoken at a few meet-ups and events since last year to a variety of audiences. SITEPOINT: Your FOWD talk is titled “Demystifying JavaScript: You Don’t Need jQuery”. There’s been a recent up-swell in anti-jQuery sentiment on the web; why do you think that is? TODD:
There has indeed, but unless you’ve a valid reason, anyone preaching “No jQuery” should tread carefully. I hope my talk excites jQuery and new JavaScript developers into learning some great new things and opens doors they didn’t know were there. I’m looking to show developers the similarities between modern JavaScript APIs and jQuery. Rather than being anti-jQuery, I want to show developers the alternative options. JavaScript isn’t perfect — there are bugs but, as we learn to combat them, we do our jobs better and get more experience. Sometimes, it’s good to know how to fix something than let a library gloss over the implementation details. I recently wrote about the topic. It was well received which inspired me to pick it for my FOWD talk. SITEPOINT: Developers often use jQuery as an unnecessary crutch. Does JavaScript have a reputation for being difficult? TODD: It definitely does have that reputation and with good reason. Douglas Crockford dubbed it one of the most misunderstood programming languages ever and there are many good and bad parts. It’s taken me great effort to understand JavaScript at the level I do today. It comes from reading books, studying and researching anything I didn’t know. As a front-end developer, I wanted to master the front-end stack. jQuery will provide a crutch for those who do not want to learn JavaScript beyond a certain level — and that’s OK for them. I used to do the same but it can lead to sticky situations. Some problems can only be solved in JavaScript — not jQuery alone. SITEPOINT: Is jQuery useful for novice JavaScript developers or can it lead to bad practices?
TODD: jQuery provides great sugar syntax and developers love it. But it does allow us to write terribly verbose and ugly code. I have but, when you begin to learn JavaScript, you uncover the great parts of the language. Some code I was writing in jQuery I’d never do in JavaScript. SITEPOINT: Do you think developers can drop jQuery completely or are there situations when it’s justified? TODD: Dropping jQuery altogether is perhaps not always suitable. I’ve written a few JavaScript-only projects with no libraries, the biggest was around 1,000 lines. The point isn’t to use jQuery or not — the point is to not be reliant on jQuery. jQuery should be used sensibly and I’d encourage developers to look at learning some of the JavaScript equivalents to learn more about what’s happening in jQuery’s methods. In some cases, mixing JavaScript and jQuery is a perfect solution. The more JavaScript you learn, the less you’ll probably want to use jQuery. SITEPOINT:
Can you see a time when the jQuery project is abandoned altogether? TODD: Maybe. Who knows?! JavaScript is changing rapidly — it’s an exciting time. I love the jQuery project and would hate to see it abandoned but we may reach a point when jQuery is merely providing shorter or alternative wrappers to methods which are almost identical in modern JavaScript. ECMAScript 6 (the latest version of JavaScript) is the biggest change of the language since inception and it’ll be interesting to see how jQuery adapts. SITEPOINT: Are you looking forward to seeing any other speakers at FOWD? TODD:
I’m looking forward to seeing all the speakers and meeting them in person! SITEPOINT: Many thanks, Todd. Todd Motto joins Paul Boag, Peter Gasston, Harry Roberts and other amazing speakers at Future Of Web Design (FOWD) in London from April 7th-9th. Craig will also be there begging for article ideas! A few tickets are still available so don’t delay!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Demystifying JavaScript

What is the significance of JavaScript in web development?

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language that is a core technology of the World Wide Web. It is primarily used to enhance web pages to provide for a more user-friendly experience. This includes creating interactive forms, refreshing data without reloading the page, and controlling multimedia. JavaScript is essential in web development as it allows for client-side script to interact with the user and make dynamic pages.

Who is Todd Motto and what is his contribution to JavaScript?

Todd Motto is a Google Developer Expert, a Microsoft MVP, and an experienced JavaScript developer. He is the founder of Ultimate Courses, which offers in-depth training courses on various aspects of JavaScript. His contributions to the JavaScript community are significant, including numerous open-source projects, articles, and tutorials that have helped many developers understand and use JavaScript more effectively.

What is the purpose of the ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ article?

The ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ article aims to break down complex JavaScript concepts into simpler, more understandable terms. It provides a comprehensive guide to understanding JavaScript, its features, and how it works. The article is designed to be a resource for both beginners and experienced developers looking to deepen their knowledge of JavaScript.

How does ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ differ from other JavaScript tutorials?

Demystifying JavaScript’ stands out from other tutorials due to its comprehensive and in-depth approach. It covers not just the basics, but also dives into more complex aspects of JavaScript. The article is written in a clear, concise manner, making it accessible to developers of all skill levels.

What are some of the key topics covered in ‘Demystifying JavaScript’?

The article covers a wide range of topics, including JavaScript fundamentals, data types, functions, objects, arrays, and more. It also delves into more advanced topics such as closures, prototypes, and the event loop. Each topic is explained in detail, with examples and code snippets to illustrate the concepts.

How can I apply the knowledge gained from ‘Demystifying JavaScript’?

The knowledge gained from ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ can be applied in various ways. You can use it to enhance your web development skills, build more dynamic and interactive web pages, or even develop your own JavaScript-based applications. The concepts explained in the article can also serve as a foundation for learning more advanced JavaScript frameworks and libraries.

Is ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ suitable for beginners?

Yes, ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ is designed to be accessible to beginners. It starts with the basics and gradually introduces more complex concepts. However, it’s also a valuable resource for more experienced developers looking to deepen their understanding of JavaScript.

What resources are recommended for further learning after ‘Demystifying JavaScript’?

After reading ‘Demystifying JavaScript’, you may want to explore more advanced topics or specific JavaScript frameworks and libraries. Todd Motto’s Ultimate Courses offer in-depth training on various aspects of JavaScript. Other resources include JavaScript documentation, online coding platforms, and community forums.

How often is ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ updated?

The ‘Demystifying JavaScript’ article is regularly updated to ensure it remains accurate and relevant. This includes updating content to reflect changes in JavaScript, adding new information, and improving existing content based on user feedback.

How can I get in touch with Todd Motto for further queries?

Todd Motto can be reached through various platforms. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, or reach out to him through the contact form on his website. He is active in the JavaScript community and often responds to queries and discussions related to JavaScript.