JavaScript + WordPress Resources

This post has links to the things I spoke about in my JavaScript + WordPress talk at WordCamp Winnipeg today.

I showed and talked about a number of things, but I didn’t provide any links. That’s what blogs are for! Read on:

JavaScript Frameworks

Rest API and JS Themes

  • WordPress.com REST API – can be used today for any WP.com or Jetpack site. Powers Calypso.
  • WP REST API – formerly a feature plugin, recently merged into core to be released with WP 4.7 in December 2016.
  • A Day of REST – a conference dedicated to building things with the REST API
  • Anadama-React – A React-based recipe theme for WordPress
  • Picard – A prototype theme that uses React and WP-API

RIP Alex King

A giant of the WordPress world passed away last night. Alex King may not been front-and-centre in the WP world these days, but he had an enormous impact in the early years:

For me it wasn’t just core code contributions, his theme competition was a big early showcase for the power of WP theming and was something I learned from and returned to often in my early couple of years working with WP. I later used his Carrington Framework on a few sites and appreciated the thoughtfulness and power that it gave to big WP sites.

I met him briefly at WordCamp San Francisco in 2012, and was mostly just happy that he knew who I was! I remember acting super awkward, but he was really nice and approachable.

If you have any stories to tell about Alex, post them on your blog! I can’t think of a better way to remember him than to let a thousand stories bloom in the form he contributed so much to. His last request was to send remembrances so that his daughter could know who he was. So do that, too.

RIP Alex.


Free HTTPS For All From The EFF

Although the HTTP protocol has been hugely successful, it is inherently insecure. …we need to move to a future where every website is HTTPS by default.With a launch scheduled for summer 2015, the Let’s Encrypt CA will automatically issue and manage free certificates for any website that needs them. Switching a webserver from HTTP to HTTPS with this CA will be as easy as issuing one command, or clicking one button.

I’ve wanted to acquire a TLS certificate for my personal sites for a couple of years, but, as the launch post says, “The biggest obstacle to HTTPS deployment has been the complexity, bureaucracy, and cost of the certificates that HTTPS requires.” I even tried to get a free cert from StartSSL, but I was quickly bewildered. The Let’s Encrypt project—and its one-click ease-of-use—sounds awesome.


What’s New for Web Developers in iOS 8

Here’s a big rundown of iOS 8 and iPhone 6 for web developers and designers, with an excellent summary to kick things off. I’m excited to see that Promises, SPDY, and WebGL have been implemented, amongst a fairly nice-looking list of things.

Breaking uploads was pretty rubbish though.

These lists are a big deal because Safari is now the most important browser with a long (generally one year) update cycle. Unless Apple drops an iOS 8.1, we won’t see anything new for quite a while.


Buh-Bye YUI

YUI admitted today what has actually been the case for quite some time: YUI is dead. I always remember seeing YUI as a curiosity when everyone was gushing over jQuery, but in a lot of ways they were ahead of their time in promoting things like modularity.

Cheers YUI, even though I never used you, I can tell that some smart people worked hard on real problems in a way that paved the way for the rich JS ecosystem emerging today.

Web Development

You Should Learn JavaScript

My Automattic colleague Beau Lebens says that JavaScript is the next (or first) programming language you should learn, and I couldn’t agree more. His reasons are great, but his conclusion resonated with me:

there’s never been a better time to get started with coding, and if you’re going to do it, I suggest starting with JavaScript. Start small, work your way up. View Source. Get on Github. Go nuts.

It’s the “never been a better time” part that really resonated with me. You could argue that I missed the boat on the early days of the web: I hacked together some web pages in the Netscape 1–3 era and gave up when this intimidating DHTML thing showed up. I didn’t understand the difference between JS the language and JS the interface to the utterly bewildering, buggy, non-standardized DOM.1 There were no resources, and definitely no browser compatibility, as the browser wars continued to escalate.2

Fast forward 17 years (!) later, a return to a love of building for the web, and now JS is the most interesting thing to me, the very thing that drove me away from web development initially. It started with jQuery and its simplification of the DOM, but that just proved the gateway into eventually diving deeper into JavaScript proper, and beginning to understand that there was even a difference between DOM and JS (much as WordPress did with PHP for me). If you’re reading this on a modern desktop browser, you have everything you need to start playing around with JavaScript. There’s loads of resources out there (like Khan Academy) to get you on your way.

  1. Ditto for basically everyone else for at least another decade. 
  2. “Best viewed in ___” anyone?