JavaScript Jabber starting from episode 1 (part 1: 2012)

I recently started listening to the podcast JavaScript Jabber a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I noticed that there were episodes dating back to 2012 so I decided that it would be very informational and insightful for me (someone who didn’t start learning JS until late 2016) to here what people where talking about in the past 6 years of JavaScript, and i’m very glad I made this decision. So i’m just going to make some comments about what I picked up in a broad overview of the first 40 episodes of JavaScript Jabber, the episodes from 2012. Note this is a second hand impression of someone who wasn’t “there” so it may not be completely accurate, I just found this experience really interesting and wanted to write about it.

General State of JavaScript:
It seems like in 2012 the JavaScript ecosystem was much more tumultuous than now with less agreement on how JavaScript should be used in general. Douglas Crawford is mentioned as a great influencer who has great insight but the people on the show always say to take him with a grain of salt because he was so dogmatic and opinionated (JShint had already been forked from JSlint). The guest on the podcast often can’t really agree on the best resources and thought leaders in the JavaScript world so it was really I pioneering time. Many of the discussions lead to conversations about the conflict of different programming communities, and novice developers all being lumped in to the usage of JavaScript, and how that led to an essential wild west of practices.

Framework Ecosystem:
While non framework web development just using Jquery and other libraries seems to be the most prevalent during this period, there are many great episodes that cover some of the emerging frameworks at the time and how they differ, namely Backbone.js, Ember.js, Knockout.js, and to a lessor extent Angular.js (I guess at this point it hadn’t gained the momentum we all know it got later). There are a lot of great discussions about the differences between different interpretations of MVC, MVVM, and MVP patterns and how to solve the problem of managing the dom in complex UIs. It’s really interesting to hear these discussions in a pre Flux Architecture world.

Things i’m surprised already existed (or were in the pipeline) in 2012:
What really surprised me is how many things that I feel like are often spoken about like they’re super new already existed in 2012. Most surprising to me was when some Google people were on the show they spoke about the shadow dom and web component spec, which I thought was cutting edge in 2018. Some other things that where already around that surprised me were: express, Microsoft using Node.js, Jasmine, Mocha, Cassandra, Mongo.db, Redis, and Go lang.

Things that didn’t exist yet (or wasn’t mentioned):
Most notable to me was that Babel and Webpack didn’t exist yet and there is still a big sentiment of not wanting to have a build step in the development process by some of the people on the podcast.

There was a lot of discussion about CoffeeScript in these episodes which had many syntax sugar features that were eventually implemented in ES6 (the proposal pipeline for ES6 was mentioned once in these first 40 episodes saying that class would be a reserved keyword but not much else). Also there was an episode entirely on the Promise pattern which at this time was done through libraries which was also to be later added to JavaScript in ES6.

Unexciting things of today used to be exciting:
I just have two examples of this from the podcast but this article which I had recently read: Worst Languages to learn in 2018 made them stand out to me. 1. Dart, there was an entire episode where Google devs talked about the language and it was back referenced a lot in later episodes. 2. CoffeeScript, this one is less surprising because CoffeeScript was essentially made obsolete by many of it’s appreciated features being added to regular JavaScript in in ES6.

A note on the actual podcast:
The format is great, it’s very casual and easy to listen to but at the same time there are great guests that have a lot of deep knowledge on interesting topics (this holds true in 2018). I especially like the personal touch the “picks” section adds: at the end of every podcast each person is asked to recommend something (either programming related or not) to the listeners and a lot of the recommendations are quite helpful. If you want to listen to a JavaScript specific podcast I highly recommend listening to this one.

I plan on continuing on with 2013-2018 to learn what the JavaScript ecosystem was like up until now and am interested in what I will end up learning from here.