Client Side

In which we are introduced to a tricky beast.

By which they mean JavaScript

There was a weird bit about n-tier architectures in the first week but essentially the course was all JavaScript.

Only 400 of us this time but…

I Predict A Riot

Insubordination in the ranks. About half way through this course various angry posts were made claiming that the course was disorganised, the resources rubbish and that the course book was awful. There’s always a bit of this course is the worst course I’ve ever been on, but it got pretty heated. Posts were disallowed for being too personal and things were said in the heat of it that might have been best not said. There was even some discussion of the dissent in the Web Apps Survivors’ Conference.

I’ll agree that the book was rubbish but the course? I think that the main problem was JavaScript its camel-cased self. A lot, if not most, students hadn’t used it before, and as we all know it can be an unforgiving beast. This was compounded by the fact that for some students it was their first programming language. They weren’t prepared for that queasy what’s going on here then? feeling that you get when learning a new language.

Personally I enjoyed the course and the fight enormously.

The course

Basically we learned JavaScript from the bottom up, pausing mid-way to do some universally useful regular expressions stuff.

The TMA was more stuff for the egregious A & B I’m afraid. We were provided with a set of pages that we had to ‘jazz up’ using JavaScript. A 2000 word report on what we had done, why we had done it and what it meant in terms of the ‘bility’ twins and their younger brother scale was also required.

You were allowed to take your code from wherever as long as you acknowledged the theft.

The worst bit was explaining your code on an web page, which took forever.

I struggled with the report and spent way too much time on various no-mark earning whistles and bells. Possibly I even neglected the necessary for the frivolous.

Who is this course for?

I’m actually not sure. Going on what they said at the time most students just wanted to get the course over with and never see another curly brace in their lives. This may have changed since. But the fact remains that for someone without any JavaScript knowledge this course is always going to be a white-knuckle job.

There are problems for the more experienced scripter too. There is no discussion of AJAX, unobtrusive JavaScript, or progressive enhancement.

That said these courses are always useful, if only because they force you to think about the subject in some depth. Before this course I used JavaScript quite a lot, now I use it very sparingly. A good thing? Yes I think so, too many people use JavaScript badly or for things that are better done with CSS.


Since my presentation this course has been updated. Gone is the book, they now use an eBook and the Google Maps API is used.

People now complain that there isn’t enough JavaScript and that the eBook is difficult to use. Well they would wouldn’t they!