Monday, 7 April 2008

Javascript for all

So on Friday, as a gentle way of trying to get back into work mode after the Rails course had finished, I started
by trying to refactor out a lot of javascript from the templates.

I have just bought 'Pragmatic Ajax (A Web 2.0 Primer)' from The Pragmatic Programmers. It is a very interesting read, and
inspired me to 'get the code out of the view'

It's true to say, that we have been quite lax in simply putting <script> tags in with fairly specialised javascript
functions, which don't really need any variables passed to them (as the function ends up with the paths and div ids hard=coded).

Well, I managed to refactor out most of the functions that we had written, and with a few additions to variables being passed to them, managed to reduce the number of some function (or make them more genericised for future reference). I even discovered a slight problem with my scrumptious.js which I need to tweak and document.

The great thing is that we have now reduced the code in the views. This makes the views easier to read and keep upto date.

There are still a few functions which I should be able to refactor, but I need to find out a couple of extra things first.

I've only got through the first 3 chapters of 'Pragmatic Ajax' so far, but it has explained a bit that so far I hadn't known from just my experience learning some Ajax through RoRails. Chapter 1 explains about what Ajax is, Chapter 2 shows you how to develop Ajaxian Maps (a google maps clone). Then it has started to go into the Nitty Gritty details of Ajax and Client-side Javascript.

However, so far the javascript examples have all been written in the html head, rather than in a separate .js file. I imagine (hope) that this will change in a best practice suggestion. I'm also hoping it will show a bit on testing javascript, which so far is something that I haven't done.

My experience of programming books has led me to find the Pragmatic Programmers books are a great way of finding the information in an easy to read style. So far, Pragmatic Ajax is a good book and hasn't let me down in it's style and (most importantly) content.

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