London Geek Nights: Ajax

Review: London Geek Nights: Ajax at London offices of ThoughtWorks UK. 18:30 to 20:30

First up was a talk by Remy Sharp on jQuery. I got the impression there were a fair few folk there who didn't have much experience with Javascript so it was quite introductory, but it was still useful to see things in a coherent context and, of course, as my jQuery experience is limited there were several things that were new to me. The talk started with some general introduction to the 'grab some nodes and do stuff to them' approach of jQuery, first discussing the CSS selection approach and then some of the filter methods you could chain things together with. One thing to bear in mind, filter works with a set of siblings (ie. horizontally in the DOM tree) whereas find searches child nodes (down the tree). We then moved on to event handling and resolving the this reference in your handler functions - unfortunately I paid too much attention to this part to write much in the way of coherent notes, and although it was claimed the presentation would be made available online I'm unable to find it. This blog post seems to cover the majority of the same ground if you're interested, and the follow up post covers event namespacing which I was struggling to see the point of at the time but which I now see may be useful. Finally we were shown some Ajax - the load method lets you specify CSS selectors to specify a fragment of the document you've requested with the Ajax call and insert that in the document which is a neat shortcut I wasn't aware of.

After a short break we had a somewhat ad hoc presentation from a developer at (I think - sorry, didn't make any notes) the Guardian who showed us the unit testing framework they were using for their Javascript. It was interesting to see the approach, a strict adherence to the MVC pattern within their framework coupled with extensive mocking, but the code he showed us was a bit jarring after the elegance of jQuery. He said he wanted to make his Java developers comfortable with the code, so there were whole sentences for function names left, right and center.

Overall a fairly interesting night, even if I had to sit on the floor because I was late (nothing unusual there then). A bit disappointing the slides don't seem to have been made available, and we were a talk short because one of the scheduled speakers had to pull out before the event, but I'll probably go to some more Geek Nights, so 3 out of 5.

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