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Learn Meteor.js Properly

»oct. 9 This Year 65

(Learn Meteor and Everything You Need to Know about It)

At the end of this article, I outline two comprehensive study guides to help you learn Meteor properly. The study guides are for both beginners and seasoned developers. The first study guide, which uses a book, a paid screencast, and some free online resources, teaches you how to build a sophisticated, modern social-media web application with Meteor. And the second study guide, which uses only free resources (one affordable screencast and free online resources), is just as instructive as the first, though you won’t build a specific web application throughout the course.

First, I give a comprehensive Meteor overview, in which I discuss just about everything you want and need to know about Meteor before you commit to investing your time and other resources in this still burgeoning though exceptional technology.

Time to read the Meteor Overview:

14 minutes 


What You Will Learn in this Meteor Overview

I explain exactly what Meteor is, how it differs from typical JavaScript frameworks, what it offers developers specifically, its alternatives and contemporaries, whether you should be excited or skeptical about it, and where to find Meteor jobs. I also enumerate some of the endorsements written by Meteor converts, and I explore the justifiable criticisms, known limitations, and frequently asked questions that many have raised about Meteor. You will learn all this and much more.

I am honored that you have joined me and I am hopeful you will find this article helpful and illuminating and the accompanying study guides and recommended resources sufficiently instructive. If you don’t, then I would have failed and I would like to hear from you; please notify me in the comments below. Don’t hesitate to alert me of any grammatical errors, typos, general errors, misinformation, missing information, outdated content, or incomprehensible sentences or passages. You won’t hurt my feelings, for I am most interested in providing you accurate, clear, and comprehensible material, and only you can determine whether I have done that.

Learn Meteor Properly Study Group

People have already started study groups for this study guide. One study group starting today (November 3) on Facebook already has over 100 members. You can also find the group on Reddit.

If you want to start a study group, send me Tweet or an email.

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Let’s begin with a comprehensive overview of Meteor.

How Will Your Life Change After You Learn Meteor Properly?

No, you won’t be cleansed of your sins and washed of your immoralities after learning Meteor properly. Neither will you lose five pounds nor grow two inches.

However, if you have never developed any kind of application before, you will experience ecstasy, so powerful and liberating it will free you to envision, build, and realize your imaginations, like an artist discovering paint and canvas for the first time.

If you currently use Meteor (and even if you have read a Meteor book or some tutorials), you will emerge better equipped to understand and handle common Meteor errors and the often-misunderstood Meteor “magic,” allowing you to experience Meteor’s true efficacy. Efficient, productive, painless.

If you use Rails, Node.js, PHP, Django, Go, Scala, or Java, you will understand Meteorites’ (i.e., Meteor developers) unapologetic praise for Meteor. You wouldn’t be convinced that every facet of Meteor is better than every facet of Rails or Django (it isn’t) or that Meteor will kill Rails or Python (it won’t). But you will undoubtedly acknowledge and appreciate, even if reluctantly, the efficiency and painlessness Meteor affords, as well as its effectiveness in making you a more productive developer—indeed, a happier developer. But be careful, my friend, for even a faithful developer can be tempted by seduction, lured by betterment, and give in to pleasure.

If you currently use proven but old-school technologies to develop applications, learning Meteor properly will allow you to experience the current state of modern web application development. This will prepare you for the foreboding robotic and futuristic frameworks that will inevitably evolve out of technologies like Meteor. You will therefore become familiar with the latest, experience the now, and embrace the inevitable.

Or, if after learning Meteor properly you remain unmoved, unconvinced, or unimpressed, then we would love to hear from you. For you may have invaluable information about efficient web-development tools that we can all use.
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Beautiful JavaScript: Easily Create Chainable (Cascading) Methods for Expressiveness

»aug. 13 Last Year 24

(Part of the “12 Powerful JavaScript Tips” Series)

Prerequisites:
Understand JavaScript’s “this” With Ease
JavaScript Objects in Detail

Chaining Methods, also known as Cascading, refers to repeatedly calling one method after another on an object, in one continuous line of code. This technique abounds in jQuery and other JavaScript libraries and it is even common in some JavaScript native methods.

Writing code like this:

$("#wrapper").fadeOut().html("Welcome, Sir").fadeIn();

or this:

str.replace("k", "R").toUpperCase().substr(0,4); 

is not just pleasurable and convenient but also succinct and intelligible. It allows us to read code like a sentence, flowing gracefully across the page. It also frees us from the monotonous, blocky structures we usually construct.

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We will spend the next 20 minutes learning to create expressive code using this cascading technique. To use cascading, we have to return this (the object we want subsequent methods to operate on) in each method. Let’s quickly learn the details and get back to eating, or watching YouTube videos, or reading Hacker News, or working and browsing, or working and focusing.

Let’s create all of our “chainable” code within an object, along with a local data store. Note that in a real-world app we will likely store the data in a database, but here we are just saving it in a variable.

 // The data store:
 var usersData = [
  {firstName:"tommy", lastName:"MalCom", email:"test@test.com", id:102},
  {firstName:"Peter", lastName:"breCht", email:"test2@test2.com", id:103},
  {firstName:"RoHan", lastName:"sahu", email:"test3@test3.com", id:104}
 ];

 
// A quick utility function that does what it says:
function titleCaseName(str)
 {
  return str.replace(/\w\S*/g, function(txt){return txt.charAt(0).toUpperCase() + txt.substr(1).toLowerCase();});
 }


 // Our object with the chainable methods
 var userController = {

  currentUser:"",

  findUser:function (userEmail) {
   var arrayLength = usersData.length, i;
   for (i = arrayLength - 1; i >= 0; i--) {
    if (usersData[i].email === userEmail) {
     this.currentUser = usersData[i];
     break;
    }
   }
   return this;
  },

  formatName:function () {
   if (this.currentUser) {
    this.currentUser.fullName = titleCaseName (this.currentUser.firstName) + " " + titleCaseName (this.currentUser.lastName);
   }
   return this;

  },

  createLayout:function () {
   if (this.currentUser) {
    this.currentUser.viewData = "<h2>Member: " + this.currentUser.fullName + "</h2>"
  + "<p>ID: " + this.currentUser.id + "</p>" + "<p>Email: " + this.currentUser.email + "</p>";
   }
   return this;
  },

  displayUser:function () {
   if (!this.currentUser) return;

   $(".members-wrapper").append(this.currentUser.viewData);

  }
 };

With our chainable methods defined, we can now execute our expressive code like this (just like it is done in jQuery):
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JavaScript’s Apply, Call, and Bind Methods are Essential for JavaScript Professionals

»july. 10 Last Year 52

Prerequisite:
Understand JavaScript’s “this” With Ease, and Master It.
JavaScript Objects
Understand JavaScript Closures
(This is an intermediate to advanced topic)

Duration: About 40 minutes.

Functions are objects in JavaScript, as you should know by now, if you have read any of the prerequisite articles. And as objects, functions have methods, including the powerful Apply, Call, and Bind methods. On the one hand, Apply and Call are nearly identical and are frequently used in JavaScript for borrowing methods and for setting the this value explicitly. We also use Apply for variable-arity functions; you will learn more about this in a bit.

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On the other hand, we use Bind for setting the this value in methods and for currying functions.

We will discuss every scenario in which we use these three methods in JavaScript. While Apply and Call comes with ECMAScript 3 (available on IE 6, 7, 8, and modern browsers), ECMAScript 5 (available on only modern browsers) added the Bind method. These 3 Function methods are workhorses and sometimes you absolutely need one of them. Let’s begin with the Bind method.
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16 JavaScript Concepts JavaScript Professionals Must Know Well

»july. 9 Last Year 33

(Essential JavaScript Concepts for Modern JavaScript Development )

If you plan to work as JavaScript Professional, you must know some JavaScript concepts and JavaScript-related web-development technologies, particularly as a modern JavaScript developer. If you know the 16 concepts enumerated below, you have the skill necessary to build world-class modern JavaScript web applications, and you are set for the near future—0 to 3 years.

I will expound on each of these sixteen concepts, and I am hopeful all of us will have become better JavaScript programmers by the time we get through all of them. I have completed most of the 16 concepts with just a few more to go, so keep reading and learning. And sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates.

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I trust you have learned JavaScript properly or you already know JavaScript enough to build a simple JavaScript-only web application. While the 16 concepts note below are neither complex nor difficult, you will understand them best if you already know at least some basic JavaScript.

The sixteen concepts that every modern JavaScript developer should know well follow:

  1. JavaScript Objects in Detail
  2. JavaScript Prototype in Plain, Detailed Language
  3. JavaScript Variable Scope and Hoisting Explained
  4. Understand JavaScript Closures With Ease
  5. Understand JavaScript Callback (Higher-Order) Functions
  6. Understand JavaScript’s “this” With Clarity, and Master It
  7. JavaScript’s Apply, Call, and Bind Methods are Essential
  8. Learn HTML5, CSS3, and Responsive WebSite Design
  9. Object Oriented JavaScript (OOP in JavaScript)
  10. Learn Node.js Completely and With Confidence Or Learn Meteor.js Properly
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Understand JavaScript’s “this” With Clarity, and Master It

»july. 5 Last Year 82

(Also learn all the scenarios when this is most misunderstood.)

Prerequisite: A bit of JavaScript.
Duration: about 40 minutes.

The this keyword in JavaScript confuses new and seasoned JavaScript developers alike. This article aims to elucidate this in its entirety. By the time we make it through this article, this will be one part of JavaScript we never have to worry about again. We will understand how to use this correctly in every scenario, including the ticklish situations where it usually proves most elusive.

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We use this similar to the way we use pronouns in natural languages like English and French. We write, “John is running fast because he is trying to catch the train.” Note the use of the pronoun “he.” We could have written this: “John is running fast because John is trying to catch the train.” We don’t reuse “John” in this manner, for if we do, our family, friends, and colleagues would abandon us. Yes, they would. Well, maybe not your family, but those of us with fair-weather friends and colleagues. In a similar graceful manner, in JavaScript, we use the this keyword as a shortcut, a referent; it refers to an object; that is, the subject in context, or the subject of the executing code. Consider this example:

    var person = {
    firstName: "Penelope",
    lastName: "Barrymore",
    fullName: function () {
        ​// Notice we use "this" just as we used "he" in the example sentence earlier?:
        console.log(this.firstName + " " + this.lastName);
    ​// We could have also written this:​
        console.log(person.firstName + " " + person.lastName);
    }
}

If we use person.firstName and person.lastName, as in the last example, our code becomes ambiguous. Consider that there could be another global variable (that we might or might not be aware of) with the name “person.” Then, references to person.firstName could attempt to access the fistName property from the person global variable, and this could lead to difficult-to-debug errors. So we use the “this” keyword not only for aesthetics (i.e., as a referent), but also for precision; its use actually makes our code more unambiguous, just as the pronoun “he” made our sentence more clear. It tells us that we are referring to the specific John at the beginning of the sentence.

Just like the pronoun “he” is used to refer to the antecedent (antecedent is the noun that a pronoun refers to), the this keyword is similarly used to refer to an object that the function (where this is used) is bound to. The this keyword not only refers to the object but it also contains the value of the object. Just like the pronoun, this can be thought of as a shortcut (or a reasonably unambiguous substitute) to refer back to the object in context (the “antecedent object”). We will learn more about context later.

JavaScript’s this Keyword Basics

First, know that all functions in JavaScript have properties, just as objects have properties. And when a function executes, it gets the this property—a variable with the value of the object that invokes the function where this is used.

The this reference ALWAYS refers to (and holds the value of) an object—a singular object—and it is usually used inside a function or a method, although it can be used outside a function in the global scope. Note that when we use strict mode, this holds the value of undefined in global functions and in anonymous functions that are not bound to any object.
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Learn HTML5, CSS3, and Responsive WebSite Design in One Go

»may. 6 Last Year 54

(You will also learn HTML5 Boilerplate, Modernizr, and Twitter Bootstrap 3.0 responsive website layout)

Prerequisite: Familiarity with basic HTML and CSS
Duration: 2 – 3 days (about 18 hours)

We have learned quite a bit of JavaScript, but we must take a break from JavaScript briefly and learn HTML5 and CSS3, because we need both, along with JavaScript of course, to build modern web applications and websites.

Both CSS3 and HTML5 are just about fully supported in all modern browsers, and we there are techniques in place to patch old browsers that lack support. So there is no disadvantage to using CSS3 and HTML5 today. The opposite is true, however: there are many painful, frustrating disadvantages with forgoing HTML5 and CSS3.

You may already “know” a bit of HTML5 and a touch of CSS3 (or perhaps you probably know enough old-school HTML and CSS), and with this knowledge, you might have thought you needn’t learn HTML5 and CSS3 fully.

The crux of the matter is that after you complete this course, you will make faster, more user friendly, highly adaptive websites and web applications. And you will learn a number of other very exciting modern web development techniques.

Responsive Web Design is becoming increasingly essential (we are probably a few months away from responsive being mandatory) with the ubiquity of the myriad screen sizes available today. As a result, modern web developers are expected to understand and implement responsive web designs.

What You Will Learn?

  • HTML5 Core (HTML5 semantics, video, and audio; and later, Advanced HTML5 APIs)
  • Responsive Web Design (create fluid, responsive layouts from scratch and from static, pixel based layouts; responsive images, icons, and videos; and more)
  • Tools and Strategies for Designing the user interface and static comps for responsive websites
  • HTML5 Boilerplate, Modernizr, and Initializr
  • Twitter Bootstrap 3.0 Responsive Layout and Best Practices

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OOP In JavaScript: What You NEED to Know

»march. 19 Last Year 155

(Object Oriented JavaScript: Only Two Techniques Matter)

Prerequisite:
JavaScript Objects in Detail
JavaScript Prototype

Object Oriented Programming (OOP) refers to using self-contained pieces of code to develop applications. We call these self-contained pieces of code objects, better known as Classes in most OOP programming languages and Functions in JavaScript. We use objects as building blocks for our applications. Building applications with objects allows us to adopt some valuable techniques, namely, Inheritance (objects can inherit features from other objects), Polymorphism (objects can share the same interface—how they are accessed and used—while their underlying implementation of the interface may differ), and Encapsulation (each object is responsible for specific tasks).

In this article, we are concerned with only Inheritance and Encapsulation since only these two concepts apply to OOP in JavaScript, particularly because, in JavaScript, objects can encapsulate functionalities and inherit methods and properties from other objects. Accordingly, in the rest of the article, I discuss everything you need to know about using objects in JavaScript in an object oriented manner—with inheritance and encapsulation—to easily reuse code and abstract functionalities into specialized objects.

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We will focus on only the best two techniques1 for implementing OOP in JavaScript. Indeed, many techniques exist for implementing OOP in JavaScript, but rather than evaluate each, I choose to focus on the two best techniques: the best technique for creating objects with specialized functionalities (aka Encapsulation) and the best technique for reusing code (aka Inheritance). By “best” I mean the most apt, the most efficient, the most robust.

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Understand JavaScript Callback Functions and Use Them

»march. 4 Last Year 80

(Learn JavaScript Higher-order Functions, aka Callback Functions)

In JavaScript, functions are first-class objects; that is, functions are of the type Object and they can be used in a first-class manner like any other object (String, Array, Number, etc.) since they are in fact objects themselves. They can be “stored in variables, passed as arguments to functions, created within functions, and returned from functions”1.

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Because functions are first-class objects, we can pass a function as an argument in another function and later execute that passed-in function or even return it to be executed later. This is the essence of using callback functions in JavaScript. In the rest of this article we will learn everything about JavaScript callback functions. Callback functions are probably the most widely used functional programming technique in JavaScript, and you can find them in just about every piece of JavaScript and jQuery code, yet they remain mysterious to many JavaScript developers. The mystery will be no more, by the time you finish reading this article.

Callback functions are derived from a programming paradigm known as functional programming. At a fundamental level, functional programming specifies the use of functions as arguments. Functional programming was—and still is, though to a much lesser extent today—seen as an esoteric technique of specially trained, master programmers.

Fortunately, the techniques of functional programming have been elucidated so that mere mortals like you and me can understand and use them with ease. One of the chief techniques in functional programming happens to be callback functions. As you will read shortly, implementing callback functions is as easy as passing regular variables as arguments. This technique is so simple that I wonder why it is mostly covered in advanced JavaScript topics.
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Learn Intermediate and Advanced JavaScript

»feb. 25 Last Year 19

(Learn Intermediate and Advanced JavaScript Concepts and Techniques in 2 Weeks)

Prerequisite:
You have completed this course: Learn JavaScript Properly (For NON-JavaScript programmers and First-time Programmers)

Or you already know the following JavaScript concepts well:
— Simple Data Types, Reference Types, Operators, and Objects (in Detail)
— Variable Scope and Hoisting, Expressions, Statements, and JSON
— DOM, The Window Object, JavaScript Events, and Handling Errors
— Functions, Function Properties, Function Expression, and AJAX
— Basic Regular Expressions and Modules

Duration:
2 Weeks

I submit to you an instructive course on intermediate and advanced JavaScript. The skills you will learn in this course of study will free you from the constrains of using the limited JS techniques you have been using to develop JS applications, and they will give you new insights and new techniques—a Jedi’s temperament and stature—to program JS applications with ease, efficiency, and precision.

If you are new to JavaScript and you are an experienced programmer in another language such as Java, Python, ActionScript, Rails, and PHP, it is important that you learn JavaScript properly. JavaScript has many idiosyncrasies and uncommon concepts that you must know well before you follow this Intermediate to Advanced JavaScript course.
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