The first annual dojoconf!

I just got back from the first ever dojoconf in Washington DC. I asked Dylan and Chris if they were planning to do it annually and I got something equivalent to “F**K YEAH!”

Good. cuz it was awesome. 🙂

I was honored to present about AMD Module Patterns at dojoconf. My slides are here. A half hour is not nearly enough time to present on even a couple of patterns. It didn’t help that I was high on cold medication, so I think I missed half of the points I wanted to make and missed half my slides at the same time. 🙁

To rectify the situation, I will write a blog post on each pattern. My goal is to write about one pattern a day until they’re all done. Wish me luck. 😉

— John

P.S. This was my first time representing a corporation at a conference. I have been a full-time employee at lifeIMAGE in Newton, MA since August 2010. lifeIMAGE sponsored the Hacker Lounge at dojoconf and paid for the awesome dojo minis! (Btw, we’re always hiring javascript engineers!)

Bizarro dojo with a slice of cujo.js [updated]

Here is the slideshow from my presentation at the Bocoup Loft on August 15th. For some reason, slideshare barfed on it even after I removed all of the video and audio. Srsly, I tried five different variations.
dojo is bizarro jQuery (bocoup)
This presentation is in the QuickTime Presentation format. You must use the space bar or arrow keys to navigate. (I seem to have to click and hit the arrow keys about a dozen times before the presentation starts.)

I finally got slideshare to accept the slides! Here’s the sideshow.

Firefox’s proposed Resource Packages spec blows!

It’s no secret that one of the keys to a decent user experience is a responsive (fast) user interface. And the most critical component to a fast web app is minimizing the HTTP requests. So it’s no mystery that people are working on ways to solve this problem.

Firefox, of course, is one of the leaders in this area. Their proposal started out fine. Here’s a sample of what it would look like (if you didn’t read the article):

<link rel="resource-package" 
               images/info.png" />

You specify that the file, /static/”, contains the listed resources. JavaScript, CSS, and images. (I imagine SWFs and videos would also be options.)

But for some reason, this concise, nearly-valid implementation was trashed in favor of a terse, unfamiliar, and nearly unusable alternative. Here’s what the spec looks like now:

<html packages='[ img1.png script.js styles/style.css]

In this bastardization, the packages are specified as an attribute on the document element (<html> tag). Package definitions in the packages attribute are delimited by square brackets, and the resources within them are delimited by spaces.

WTF? Not only is this ugly and non-standard, but it also has some serious drawbacks. Here’s why:

Continue reading

Deduplicate any array in Javascript

I’ve neglected this blog lately. My only excuse is that I am very, very busy! Not only have I been lucky enough to land a great opportunity working with some very bright jQuery Interactive Developers at Molecular, but I’ve also been working on something really big. (More on that later!)

But despite being busy, I felt compelled to post this one. As part of the something really big project, I had to deduplicate a potentially large array of nodes. Dojo doesn’t have a built-in function for deduplication (a.k.a “deduping”). How could it not? Doesn’t everybody have to do this once in a while?

I guess I’ll have to write one. How hard could it be?
Continue reading

Hi-performance Javascript Tips #3: Less is More [Updated 2009-04-09]

This should really be Tip #1 since it’s the most critical of all. Let me just say this as clearly as possible:

Your fastest Javascript projects are the ones that have the least Javascript!

Sure, Javascript engines have matured. Safari’s Nitro, Chrome’s V8, Firefox’s TraceMonkey, and Opera’s Carackan all kick some serious butt. (IE8’s JScript, unfortunately, still sucks wind.) However, routines written in C++ still run orders of magnitude faster in most cases.

Don’t write Javascript to do something your browser already does at compiled-code speeds.
Continue reading

Debouncing Javascript Methods

Back in 2006, I was the lead front-end architect for a mission-critical Web 2.0 application. Yah-yah, aren’t they all mission-critical? Yes, but this one really was critical since it was one of those make-or-break moments for the product. What made this project really interesting were the unrealistic expectations the product managers had of web apps.

Sometimes, pressure like this can lead to creativity and innovation. On this occasion, it helped me reach back in to my electrical engineering coursework to apply a hardware concept to software programming.
Continue reading