Episode 30

030 JSJ Learning & Teaching JavaScript with Noel Rappin


October 4th, 2012

51 mins 53 secs

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Special Guest

About this Episode


Noel Rappin (twitter github blog)
Jamison Dance (twitter github blog)
Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Intro to CoffeeScript)
AJ O’Neal (twitter github blog)

00:52 - Works in training and talent development for Groupon

00:56 - Author of Rails Test Prescriptions and upcoming Master Space and Time with JavaScript

01:21 - Writing a book about JavaScript

02:33 - Focus of the book

Part 1: Jasmine and jQuery and the JavaScript Object Model
Part 2: Extended examples of jQuery
Part 3: Backbone
Part 4: Ember

03:46 - Self-published authors

05:15 - Approaches and mindsets to learning JavaScript

06:04 - “Gotchas!” and bad features in Javascript

09:17 - Modeling JavaScript for beginners

11:23 - (AJ joins the podcast)

11:42 - Resources/Classes for learning JavaScript

Good Parts Book: Douglas Crockford
JavaScript Patterns: Stoyan Stefanov
Eloquent JavaScript: A Modern Introduction to Programming: Marijn Haverbeke
Maintainable JavaScript: Nicholas C. Zakas

13:54 - Hiring people with JavaScript experience at Groupon

15:12 - Training workshops

17:00 - Getting new hires up to speed quickly


21:38 - Book Learning

You can learn at your own pace
But it’s hard to ask questions to a book

22:51 - How Noel gained expertise in JavaScript

24:38 - Code reading and learning to program a language

26:18 - Teaching people JavaScript as their very first language

31:55 - Classroom layout

33:42 - Online training

Kahn Academy Computer Science

Code Academy

Starter League

40:00 - Finding a mentor

Stack Overflow


Shrines by Purity Ring (Jamison)
Learnable Programming: Bret Victor (Jamison)
Mob Software: Richard P. Gabriel & Ron Goldman (Jamison)
Monoprice.com (AJ)
ZREO: Zelda Reorchestrated (AJ)
The Official Twitter App (Chuck)
Fluid App (Chuck)
Try Jasmine! (Noel)
Justin Searls (Noel)
The Atrocity Archives: Charles Stross (Noel)
Futurity: A Musical by The Lisps (Noel)

NOEL: I’m trying to figure out where the chat is in this stupid Skype interface.

JAMISON: Just imagine the worst place it could possibly be and that’s where it is.

[This episode is sponsored by ComponentOne, makers of Wijmo. If you need stunning UI elements or awesome graphs and charts, then go to wijmo.com and check them out.]

[Hosting and bandwidth provided by The Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net]

CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 30 of the JavaScript Jabber show! This week on our panel we have, Jamison Dance.

JAMISON: Hey guys!

CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from devchat.tv and this week, we have a special guest and that’s Noel Rappin!

NOEL: Hey everybody!

CHUCK: For the people who don’t know who you are, you want to introduce yourself, Noel?

NOEL:  Sure. I currently work in training and talent development for Groupon. And I am the author of previously “Rails Test Prescriptions” and currently a self-published book called “Master Time and Space with JavaScript”, which you can get at noelrappin.com. I need to spell that out, right? N-o-e-l-r-a-p-p-i-n.com

CHUCK: So I’m little curious, before we get into the topic which is learning and teaching JavaScript, how did you get into writing a book about JavaScript? What’s your background there?

NOEL: You know, it actually relates to teaching and learning JavaScript. I think, I was like… a lot of long time web devs. I spent my first round as a web consultant in around, turn of the century 2000’s. I spent time trying to talk clients out of JavaScript stuff because it was such a pain in the neck. And I kind of got away from it for awhile and came back a couple of years ago to realize that basically, everything had changed and they were actually usable tools now.

And last summer, I was working with a… at that time,