I learnt HTML/CSS a good few years back, then PHP a little later. I've recently become interesting in web development again, just started playing with frameworks like Django and RoR. I'm curious as to how much time/effort I should spend learning straight JS before looking at frameworks. I've been reading through a let of articles called Mastering AJAX by Brett McLaughlin which seems quite good, but I'm seeing a lot of stuff (such as cross browser compatibility - even for things like XMLHttpRequest) coming up which look like they would be non-issues if using a framework.
So, should I keep reading through these articles and try to build stuff using basic JS, or should I just start looking into jQuery and the like?
Also, I've been watching a few videos regarding GWT from Google I/O. I've been learning Java over the last year, built a few medium sized apps in it. I'm wondering if GWT is something that's worth going straight to, along with gQuery?
You should also check out Douglas Crockford's web site.
I also had to come back here and mention this in an update:
Just as when you are learning to program you are taught first C/Pascal then Java/C++ and finally Python/Ruby/Smalltalk/Lisp, and when learning any language you start with simple language constructs, you should first learn ECMAScript, then learn DOM and finally frameworks.
Why? Because you'll have a deeper understanding of the language, and will be able to debug things that might seem odd unless you've got that learning experience.
If you are a seasoned developer, you can speed up each phase, but don't skip them, or you will have problems due to not fully understanding the small oddities.
Date has bitten me a couple of times in the ass).
Use frameworks to avoid repetitive tasks and to simplify your code, but not as a starting point. Simplicity is a final goal, not the starting point, and frameworks are for that, simplicity, not for learning a language. Frameworks are intended for simplifying things for experienced developers.
Learning the differences between browsers (DOM implementations) will allow you to debug your framework. That is priceless.
I've been learning Java over the last year...
It's actually a really interesting tech talk and presentation since he does live examples and Resig is pretty good at presenting.
Yes, jumping straight to framework-based programming instead of DOM is a good idea.
I started doing JS before any major frameworks like jQuery came along, and was reluctant to switch at first, but when I first started using jQuery, it felt so good to be able to write selectors and stuff and not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility.
Overall, I suggest you start with some trivial JS applications, then switch to jQuery instead of going on to the complex topic of DOM.
It depends on where you want to invest your time. Ideally, we're all expert in assembly language, but that's not realistic or practical. We have to pick our battles. Then generally we attack each other for picking the wrong battle, which we call "cargo cult coding."
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