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Can We Extend the Web Cleanly?

By Simon St. Laurent
April 10, 2014

“Design by Committee” is rarely a compliment. Can the Web shift away from that model, retaining some order without falling into troublesome chaos? The Manifesto Part of the excitement around the Extensible Web Manifesto was that it wanted to move …

Building an Activity Feed System with Storm

By Meghan Blanchette
April 8, 2014

Editor’s Note: The Clojure Cookbook is a recently published book by experienced Clojurists Luke VanderHart and Ryan Neufeld. It seeks to be a practical collection of tasks for intermediate Clojure programmers. In addition to providing their own recipes, Ryan and …

The Power of HTML

By Simon St. Laurent
April 4, 2014

For a growing number of developers, “web” means “JavaScript”. Programmers like to focus on programming languages, but the Web’s basic power comes from its support for communications, not programming. I asked Jen Simmons, host of the Web Ahead podcast, to …

Facebook’s Hack, HHVM, and the Future of PHP

By Josh Lockhart
April 3, 2014

Facebook recently released Hack, a new programming language that looks and acts like PHP. Underneath the hood, however, are a ton of features like static typing, generics, native collections, and many more features for which PHP developers have long been …

Transforming the Web (through transformation)

By Simon St. Laurent
April 1, 2014

Thousands of people invented it independently. Millions use it without thinking about a broader context. It’s time to name it so we can talk about it. Transformation is changing the way we look at the balance between clients and servers, …

Yes, CSS is code

By Simon St. Laurent
March 26, 2014

One of the best things I overheard at the Fluent Conference was (more or less): “CSS live coding? I was like, that isn’t code. But then it was.” Lea Varou had changed the mind of a skeptic.   CSS is …

The Web is Eating Software

By Simon St. Laurent
March 19, 2014

A few years ago, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote that “software is eating the world”: Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all …

Choosing a Templating Language in Clojure

By Ryan Neufeld
March 18, 2014

One thing that is striking when working in the Clojure ecosystem is the breadth of options available to tackle any given task. The community strives to write simple, interoperable libraries and what results is a daunting number of choices, all …

Stacks in JavaScript

By Michael McMillan
March 11, 2014

In a previous blog post, I discussed why it is important for JavaScript developers to learn how to implement the classic data structures of computer science, such as stacks, lists, queues, and so on. I also talked about how in …

Event-driven application design with JavaScript

By Patrick Mulder
March 10, 2014

When you start building dashboards for interacting with data, such as calculators, editors, or result browsers, understanding JavaScript and client-side MVC becomes important. Why do you need an event-driven application design and a separation of interface state and behavior? Let …

A concrete approach to learning how to program for beginners

By Semmy Purewal
March 6, 2014

As someone who has previously taught computer programming for nearly a decade, I’m often asked questions that involve “what’s the best way to go about learning to program computers,” or “what’s the best way to get a software engineering job,” …

Understand the four layers of JavaScript OOP in one short lesson

By Amy Jollymore
March 5, 2014

Last week Axel Rauschmayer presented “The Four Layers of JavaScript OOP.” His approach to teaching JavaScript OOP is doing so incrementally, through layers. Each of the four layers builds upon the last. The lesson runs just under an hour. The …

Javascript without the this

By Pete Hodgson
March 5, 2014

One of JavaScript’s many wrinkles is the way that this works. It can be quite confusing, since the semantics are quite different from the purely lexical scoping rules which apply for regular variables in JavaScript. What this references can often …

The new PHP

By Josh Lockhart
March 4, 2014

The programming language many love to hate is experiencing a renaissance. This is not your parents’ PHP. The new PHP is a more mature language with community standards, a growing affinity for interoperable components, and a passionate movement to improve …

Implementing Hypermedia Clients: It’s Not Rocket Science

By Simon St. Laurent
February 28, 2014

At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5 conference, Layer 7 Principal API Architect Mike Amundsen demonstrated how to build hypermedia clients, for situations with and without humans in the driver’s seat. (If you’d like to know more about …

Why polyfills matter

By Brandon Satrom
February 26, 2014

From its nascent days, the growth of the web has been marked by the waxing and waning of technologies, frameworks and ideas. Old ideas and technologies expire and fade away, and new ones arise in their place. Much as the …

Why Polyfills Matter

By Brandon Satrom
February 26, 2014

From its nascent days, the growth of the web has been marked by the waxing and waning of technologies, frameworks and ideas. Old ideas and technologies expire and fade away, and new ones arise in their place. Much as the …

Prototype and adapt with the MEAN stack

By Valeri Karpov
February 25, 2014

Web development may seem like a bustling space where everything changes every 5 minutes, but, in reality, the fundamental high-level concepts of building a web application haven’t changed much since the introduction of Ajax. The libraries and concepts, like the …

Prototype and adapt with the MEAN stack

By Valeri Karpov
February 25, 2014

Web development may seem like a bustling space where everything changes every 5 minutes, but, in reality, the fundamental high-level concepts of building a web application haven’t changed much since the introduction of Ajax. The libraries and concepts, like the …

How To (Semi-)Automate JavaScript Refactoring

By Simon St. Laurent
February 20, 2014

Computers aren’t ready to write much of our code for us, but they can still help us clean and improve our code. At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5 conference, Giles Bowkett demonstrated a wide variety of ways …

Data Structures in JavaScript

By Michael McMillan
February 19, 2014

By now, you are aware that JavaScript is no longer a web browser-only programming language. Over the past several years, several server-side JavaScript engines and frameworks have been introduced, including the Mozilla JavaScript shell and, most importantly, Node.js. These systems …

An introduction to TypeScript

By Peter Cooper
February 13, 2014

At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s conference dedicated to the Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5, Microsoft’s Luke Hoban spoke about TypeScript, a strict superset of JavaScript that adds optional static typing, modules, and classes. In Introduction to TypeScript, Luke presented a 40 …

Go Node Without Code

By Simon St. Laurent
February 6, 2014

At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5 conference, Adobe Community Manager Brian Rinaldi showed off ways Node makes possible a new world of utilities, showing JavaScript developers a toolkit they will want to integrate into their workflows. In …

Building Rich Web UIs with Knockout.js

By Peter Cooper
January 30, 2014

  At Fluent 2013, O’Reilly’s Web Platform, JavaScript and HTML5 conference, Microsoft’s Steve Sanderson gave a tight 20 minute introductory tour of Knockout.js, a popular JavaScript UI library built around declarative bindings and the Model-View ViewModel (MVVM) pattern. In his …

Web Application Development is Different (and Better)

By Simon St. Laurent
January 29, 2014

The Web became the most ubiquitous distributed application system because it didn’t have to think of itself as a programming environment. Almost every day I see comments or complaints from programmers (even brilliant programmers) muttering about how many strange and …

Please Nominate for the Web Platform Awards

By Simon St. Laurent
January 24, 2014

This March, we’ll be announcing the Web Platform Awards at the O’Reilly Fluent Conference. Fluent is all about JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, and the best practices that make up the Web Platform, and we’d like to recognize the people who’ve made …

pushState to the Future: Progressive Enhancement Using HTML5 pushState at Twitter

By Peter Cooper
January 23, 2014

Fluent is O’Reilly’s conference dedicated to the Web Platform and all that entails, with a focus on JavaScript and HTML5. In 2013, over 1000 attendees and speakers like Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and CTO of Mozilla, Paul Irish …

Keeping jQuery in Check

By Pete Hodgson
January 16, 2014

jQuery makes it really easy to work with the DOM and other browser APIs. Almost too easy. Having the almighty $ available to you at all times can lead to an architectural style that I refer to as “jQuery soup.” …

Is Valve’s SteamBox a contender for the next developer workstation?

By Mike Loukides
January 8, 2014

A scenario started playing through my head the other day. In the late 1990s, Apple looked dead. Then they released OS X, plus very cool shiny hardware. That put Apple back in the game and gave them the life they …

The emergence of the connected city

By Glen Martin
January 8, 2014

If the modern city is a symbol for randomness — even chaos — the city of the near future is shaping up along opposite metaphorical lines. The urban environment is evolving rapidly, and a model is emerging that is more …

Function = Var + Return: A Functional Style of JavaScript Programming

By Hew Wolff
December 20, 2013

Functional programming, for most working programmers, is exotic. I’ve been experimenting with it as a way to get cleaner code and to expand my mind a bit. Here I describe a minimal approach to JavaScript which makes it intensely functional. …

Declare and It Happens

By Simon St. Laurent
December 18, 2013

Last week, I wrote about the need to make programming, at least much programming, more accessible. I was thinking in terms of business processes, so spreadsheets and flow-based programming sprang to mind. Today, though, Jeremy Keith reminds me that on …

Peer to Peer Reaching the Browser through WebRTC

By Simon St. Laurent
November 27, 2013

WebRTC promises to deliver computer to computer communications with minimal reliance on central servers to manage the conversation. Peer-to-peer systems promise smoother exchanges without the tremendous scale challenges of running video, for example, through central points. The WebRTC Conference and …

WORA Can Be Better Than Native

By Shai Almog
November 26, 2013

Some would claim that native is the best approach, but that looks at existing WORA tools/communities, which mostly target cost saving. In fact, even native Android/iOS tools produce rather bad results without deep platform familiarity. Native is very difficult to …

Patents, they’re not what they used to be

By Jim Stogdill
November 21, 2013

When I was about 16, I went to visit my grandfather in Denver, where he’d decided to retire. He moved there after spending 30 years in Midland, Michigan working for Dow Chemical. I guess he went west for the dry …

Seduced by Markup

By Simon St. Laurent
November 20, 2013

A friend wanted to show me a great new thing in 1993, this crazy HTML browser called Cello. He knew I was working on hypertext and this seemed like just the thing for it! Sadly, my time in HyperCard and …

Sketching in Code

By Simon St. Laurent
November 13, 2013

Last week’s Artifact Conference focused on the challenges of designing for multiple devices simultaneously. One frequent suggestions on stage and off was rough sketching, on screen or on paper, but it’s tricky to get there. The problem is easiest to …

Accessibility: Why I hate checklists

By Katie Cunningham
November 13, 2013

Every time I give a talk about making accessible websites, I get the following question: “What checklist do you use to make sure a site is accessible?” My response always surprises them: “I don’t use a list.” Why not? There …

Restructuring the Web with Git

By Simon St. Laurent
November 6, 2013

Web designers? Git? Github? Aren’t those for programmers? At Artifact, Christopher Schmitt showed designers how much their peers are already doing with Github, and what more they can do. Github (and the underlying Git toolset) changes the way that all …

MathML Forges On

By Peter Krautzberger
November 1, 2013

20 years into the web, math and science are still second class citizens on the web. While MathML is part of HTML 5, its adoption has seen ups and downs but if you look closely you can see there is …

Documentation as Testing

By Simon St. Laurent
October 30, 2013

“If you’re explaining, you’re losing.” That gem of political wisdom has always been hard for me to take, as, after all, I make my living at explaining technology. I don’t feel like I’m losing. And yet… It rings true. It’s …

Transformative Programming

By Simon St. Laurent
October 16, 2013

“Small pieces loosely joined,” David Weinberger’s appealing theory of the Web, has much to say to programmers as well. It always inspires me to reduce the size of individual code components. The hard part, though, is rarely the “small” – …

What do we get for that DRM?

By Simon St. Laurent
October 10, 2013

I had a hard time finding anything to like in Tim Berners-Lee’s meager excuse for the W3C’s new focus on digital rights management (DRM). However, the piece that keeps me shaking my head and wondering is a question he asks …

Proposing a Compelling Fluent Talk

By Simon St. Laurent
September 27, 2013

As the Fluent call for proposals nears its September 30th (Monday!) close, I’ve had more and more questions about what makes a good proposal. For Fluent, we’d like talks centered on the Web Platform and JavaScript, but the Call just …

Django Is Python’s Most Mature Web Framework

By Rachel Roumeliotis
September 26, 2013

Nathan Yergler (@nyergler), Principal Engineer at Eventbrite, and I had a chance to talk Django at OSCON 2013. We talk about why Django is the go-to choice for Pythonistas and about the growing technical debt that each programmer has to …

From “Web Development” to the “Web Platform”

By Simon St. Laurent
September 4, 2013

The rise of the phrase “web platform” over the past few years makes me very happy. For years, I’ve been looking for a good term that would cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and a few related technologies. The terminology has long …

Donald Berwick discusses health care improvement: goals, exemplary organizations,and being at a turning point

By Andy Oram
July 16, 2013

Last week, a wide-ranging interview on data in health care took place between Dr. Donald Berwick and Colin Hill of GNS Healthcare. Dr. Berwick and Hill got together in the Cambridge, Mass. office of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a …

Sprinting toward the future of Jamaica

By Alex Howard
April 18, 2013

Creating the conditions for startups to form is now a policy imperative for governments around the world, as Julian Jay Robinson, minister of state in Jamaica’s Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, reminded the attendees at the “Developing the …

Building native apps from JavaScript using Titanium

By Andy Oram
April 18, 2013

In this interview, the author of Titanium: Up and Running describes how Titanium can be used to generate native mobile apps from JavaScript code. He distinguishes the Titanium platform from native API programming and from other popular JavaScript platforms for …

The demise of Google Reader: Stability as a service

By Mike Loukides
March 21, 2013

Om Malik’s brief post on the demise of Google Reader raises a good point: If we can’t trust Google to keep successful applications around, why should we bother trying to use their new applications, such as Google Keep? Given the …


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