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?