Chicago JavaScript Meetup: JS.Chi()

I went to my first Chicago JavaScript meetup on Thursday (the 4th meetup they've had so far) and it looks like a promising group. The topics were pretty basic but the speakers seemed very deep into JavaScript so I'm looking forward to future meetings. By raise of hands we decided to split into two groups, an advanced and a beginner, which was an excellent idea. The turnout was incredible — about 60 (or more?) people showed up. The original venue that got canceled only held 40 so some of those people were actually on a waiting list.

Vlad Didenko gave a demo on FireBug, the essential JavaScript dev tool. I was surprised to learn a few nifty features I didn't know about, like the fact you can click on events when you turn on logging and inspect the DOM. The other day I was logging events and needed to know what DOM elements were attached to. (You can pretty much click on anything in FireBug so I don't know why this wasn't obvious to me.) It also sounds like FireBug Lite (for Safari, Opera and IE) has come a long way since I last looked at it.

Justin Meyer of JavaScript MVC gave an intro to AJAX talk which would definitely be helpful to those who were not too familiar with it. Justin prefaced the talk by saying AJAX can pretty much take credit for "re-vitalizing" JavaScript and I agree! It is an exciting time to work on applications that run in the web browser.

I have a few JavaScript projects in the works so hopefully I will be presenting at an upcoming meetup. One is an open source library I'll be releasing soon that allows for better testing with mock objects in JavaScript. Another is a presentation that I'm scheduled to give at PyCon 2009 called Strategies For Testing AJAX Web Applications that will go beyond how to use tools like Selenium and talk about actual strategies for scaling a browser-based test suite when an AJAX app gets more complex. I hope to unleash a practice run of this talk on the JavaScript group to get some feedback.

Oh! And they were giving away O'Reilly books with the usual stipulation that you had to write a review of the book if you grabbed one. I was lucky enough to snag JavaScript: The Good Parts which is something I was actually about to buy :) That said, I promise a full review will go up on my blog soon. So far in what I've read and skimmed, this book is essential for anyone who wants to go beyond a helper framework (i.e. Dojo, JQuery, Prototype, etc) to start writing one's own JavaScript libs.