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Author Topic: Advice on a [learning] JavaScript IDE?  (Read 3601 times)
barney
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« on: March 29, 2011, 10:06:12 AM »

Folk,

A friend/client of mine has suddenly taken it into mind to learn JavaScript (oi, vey!), and they (man & wife team) have asked for advice on an IDE that would help them.  Told 'em I'd check with some experts of whom I know  Grin.

They asked specifically about a couple of Antechinus products, Code Chameleon and JavaScript Editor, neither of which I've ever used ... the price on Code Chameleon isn't bad, but the price on JavaScript Editor strikes me as rather dear if it is a one (1)-trick pony.

Anyone with experience of either product?  Or perhaps you can recommend something similar?  I don't think they'd cavil at spending less than $100, so mention of a reasonably priced product would not be amiss.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 10:07:43 AM by barney » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 10:26:07 AM »

I can't speak to those, but over the years I've found JS editors to be very very far behind others. They should NOT expect Eclipse or NetBeans or VS quality. From what I've seen, JS editors are primitive.

However, I do hope to learn something from someone with more experience than me there. I would love to see a good JS editor! (I could also certainly use one!)
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barney
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 06:56:13 AM »

Yeah, that's my thinking as well.  An intelligent JS IDE would certainly be welcome in my tool box  tongue.  Komodo Edit does a fair job, but nowhere near what it does for other languages.  It's a surprise to me that, given AJAX, JQuery, et.al., no one has produced anything truly functional - perhaps a few online editors, but those are seldom convenient - besides which, I ain't found one yet  Wink.
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housetier
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 01:29:09 PM »

There is Cloud 9 IDE which supposedly is a primary Javascript IDE.

Some of my hacker friends quite like it, I have only looked at it from afar, not actually used it. But it doesn't look too bad at all.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 01:49:24 PM »

Speaking as a neophyte, I find Jetbrains' PyCharm quite helpful.
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 08:43:55 PM »

If they really want to know JavaScript (in the Neo: "I know Kung-Fu!" sense), then the IDE/Editor is of only secondary concern to actually learning the language! There are many good books on JS, but the best one IMHO (if you only get one), is JavaScript the Definitive Guide by David Flanagan. And guess what? There is a brand new edition about to come out! (looks like May) It's going to cover all the new HTML5 hoopla.

Also recommended are:
I really like Jeremy Keith's work in particular (very clear writing style) and "DOM scripting" is an excellent first book. It is a quick read which covers important best practices including the notions of progressive enhancement and graceful degradation. His follow-up "Bulletproof Ajax" extends these concepts to the world of Ajax as he presents his notion of "Hijax". (i.e. A site should work just fine even when Javascript is turned off.)

Regarding the IDE, I'm no expert, but I just use a plain old text editor (EditPadPro) and debug using Opera's built-in Dragonfly JavaScript debugger (which I prefer over FireBug). And of course, I always keep a copy of "The Definitive Guide" within arms reach!
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barney
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 10:15:10 PM »

If they really want to know JavaScript (in the Neo: "I know Kung-Fu!" sense), then the IDE/Editor is of only secondary concern to actually learning the language!
There's no gainsaying that, but what they want is a tool to assist them in that endeavor.  JavaScript tends to be overly - to my mind - verbose, and if there's a true debugger for it, I've yet to find it.  Given that, an IDE that can point out possible syntax errors could be of inestimable value. 

'Twould seem, however, that such an IDE has yet to be devised.  Logs help, but they are only truly useful if you already know a language.
 
Logs show an end result, but they tend not to show the interim steps to that result.  A decent, dedicated editor could point out potential errors that would not show up in a server log.  There may be a few online, but online services are seldom satisfactory for such purposes - not everyone can be online when need arises.  (Being able to work on code while on a plane or train has saved my ass more than once.)

Hence the search for an IDE or intelligent editor.  It's not to replace learning the language, it is to enhance the process.
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widgewunner
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 09:51:54 AM »

Oh yeah, and don't forget about: JSLint by Douglas Crockford.

This free tool is easily integrated into an editor/IDE. (Finds lots of stupid syntax errors.)
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barney
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 10:23:45 AM »

JSLint has saved me many hours in the past.  (I tend to hose JS's camel spelling, especially since I rarely use JS in my primary endeavors.)  However, it is one of those online tools of which I spoke.  While that is usually acceptable for me, this young couple is on a data-capped connection, so online services are, for the most part, anathema to them.  (JSLint also, the last time I used it, has trouble with included .js files - cannot see a directory structure on a local drive, so it cannot detect the almost inevitable path errors/typos.)
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mwb1100
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 10:37:01 AM »

it is one of those online tools of which I spoke.  While that is usually acceptable for me, this young couple is on a data-capped connection, so online services are, for the most part, anathema to them.

You can pull JSLint down to run locally: https://github.com/douglascrockford/JSLint

I'm not sure how easy it would be to set up.
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Edvard
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 12:17:06 PM »

Well, if you're looking for something that helps you type the stuff out as you go, with code hints and colorized text, etc. then SciTe should fit the bill:
http://www.scintilla.org/SciTE.html
It's got a JavaScript lexer, lots of autocomplete options, and best of all it's free (both ways).
Yes, it's a code editor, not a full IDE, but might be worth a look anyways.

EDIT:
Also, this is the first Google result for "Javascript IDE":
http://www.aptana.com/
Looks rather nice...

And NetBeans does javascript:
http://netbeans.org/features/javascript/

Or how about EditRocket:
http://editrocket.com/

P.S. I know nothing of Javascript, so any of my suggestions is likely to come from the "Oooh, look... Shiny!" camp, with the exception of SciTe.
That one I have actually used for AutoHotKey and Bash scripts, and it works well.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 12:38:25 PM by Edvard » Logged

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barney
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2011, 04:29:06 PM »

Thank you  Thmbsup.  Somehow - why am I not surprised  embarassed - I missed that.

There are three GitHub downloads:  jslint, adsafe.js, & json2.js.  Each is contained in a .zip file, with the only common file being named README - that file should be renamed to your preference for each of the .zips.  Apart from renaming the READMEs, everything works from the same directory.  Threw all files into a directory in the dev server on my laptop and it loads just fine.  Take a bit more work to see how well it performs.
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barney
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2011, 04:39:20 PM »

Hm-m-m ... I remember bad experiences with SciTe a long time back.  Perhaps I should revisit it.

Aptana won't work - they cannot get Eclipse to install on their system - a problem I've had, as well, on various boxes.

NetBeans is another that I'd tried, to no good result, in the past.

EditRocket is totally new to me.

Looks as though my next few hours/days are gonna be busy  ohmy :  retry NetBeans & SciTe, check EditRocket  Cry.

Thanks for the references  Thmbsup.
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