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JavaScript: One of the key languages of this industry

 June 2015

Hi again! It’s been a while since my last post; much due to the fact that some of the awesome projects I’ve had the chance to work on the last couple of weeks has taken up most of my time. Anyways, this post is dedicated to one of the programming languages of the web industry, JavaScript. Now, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone even slightly involved in web development that JavaScript is one of the key languages out there, but not everyone knows that this also holds true for much of the development going on in the Smart TV- and game console market. This comes from the fact that most Smart TV’s and some game consoles actually run all of the apps, like Netflix or HBO, in a custom made web browser (just with all the gizmos you’re used to in a web browser stripped away, like the address bar and bookmarks, etc.). This has a number of implications, such as the fact that all TV platforms have their own browsers, video playback/streaming support, encryption mechanisms, etc. Furthermore, as with computers and mobile phones, all Smart TV’s have different hardware capabilities, meaning that a UI concept might run well on one platform that supports things such as animations and transitions nicely, while it might not run at all or with heavily degraded user experience on a less performance-centric platform. Luckily, Accedo has tools and products to deal with both this fragmentation and application hosting, making both development and hosting a breeze.

With all of this said, learning to develop applications using JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS would be my first recommendation to anyone glancing at a job position at a company such as Accedo. But since JavaScript probably has one of the biggest developer communities out there, it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) stop there. Therefore, I’ve listed some really nice reading material for libraries, frameworks and other gizmos that you could familiarise yourself with when it comes to web development below.

– HTML5 (http://www.html5rocks.com/en/): A nice starting point to familiarise yourself with different aspects of HTML5.
– AngularJS (https://angularjs.org/): Probably one of the biggest and most commonly used toolsets/frameworks for web development when it comes to topics such as data binding, directives, etc. While you’re at it, check out the entire so-called “MEAN stack” (http://mean.io/) , which stands for Mongo (https://www.mongodb.org/), Express (http://expressjs.com/), Angular (see above) and Node (https://nodejs.org/). These are four components that can be used to create a full web application, all the way from database storage, to business logic and RESTful API, to front-end web application. As with anything else, there are a number of these full-stack suites out there to achieve this, so look around and try our your options!
– Gradle (https://gradle.org/): There are more build automation systems out there than I can count, but one of the best tools I would recommend you spend some time on getting familiar with is Gradle.
– SASS (http://sass-lang.com/): Extension language for CSS, adding many nice features to the existing CSS functionalities.
– MAMP / WAMP (http://www.mamp.info/en/ / http://www.wampserver.com/en/): Mac and Windows applications for setting up your own web server, which you will always have at least one of when you develop and test out your web applications. As with build automation, there are many tools out there, but these are convenient and easy to start with.

All of the above-mentioned frameworks and toolsets are more or less industry-standard, or work in very similar ways to other industry-standards, and are very powerful. So if you get to know and play around with some of them, it will not only look good on your resume, you’ll most likely be able to put that knowledge to good use in the future, if you’re aiming for a job as a web developer (plus, you’ll probably have fun learning about them, which is awesome).

Good luck!

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