News roundup: Zombie.js, evil.js, and even more JavaScript game engines

Zombie.js

Zombie.js looks to be a great new JavaScript testing tool for node.js. It creates a headless browser instance and is able to request webpages and run tests against them. It handles unit tests in a familiar way, as well as simulating real user events such as filling in forms and clicking buttons in a way that’s inspired by the Ruby-based tool Webrat.

For more information on getting started, the developer Assaf Arkin has written an excellent introduction.

evil.js

evil.js is a JavaScript library to prevent hotlinking of your JavaScript files.

You may remember back when Douglas Crockford snuck in an alert() on json.js hosted on his website (before he moved it to GitHub). Sites that were hotlinking directly all the sudden got an alert() pop up on every page load.

evil.js goes one step further, or rather many steps further. It overrides alert() with eval() (which is supposedly evil). It also screws around with many other built-in methods, pointing Math.max to Math.min as well as completely obliterating XMLHttpRequest.

In essence, evil.js truly lives up to its name.

Even More Game Engines!

Last week we got introduced to Impact, CraftyJS, and jgen, and this week even more game engines are popping up!

This week we have Propulsion (check out this balloon game demo) and GammaJS.

If you want to see more, check out this list of 16 Javascript Game Engines (it seems to be missing some of the latest ones however).

Upcoming Events

Closure Tools: Principles and Practice – Michael Bolin (January 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts)
jQuery: Making Javascript fun again (HTML5 Silicon Valley) (January 18, 2011 in Mountain View, CA)
Paul Irish on HTML5 Boilerplate (January 27, 2011 in San Francisco, CA)
Day of JavaScript on Mobile (January 27, 2011 in Mountain View, CA)
Mozilla/P2PU School of Webcraft (January 2011 online)
JS Boot Camp (February 10-11, 2011 in Reston, Virginia, US)
Confoo.CA: Web Techno Conference (March 9-11, 2011 in Montreal, Canada)
JSConf 2011 (May 2-3, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, US)
NodeConf 2011 (May 5, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, US)
jsday (May 12-14, 2011 in Italy)

Releases

CoffeeScript 1.0.0
node v0.2.6

Tidbits

Functions: Question “about surrounding parentheses” – Dmitry A. Soshnikov gives a very academic description about using parenthesis in immediately-invoked functions
jQuery Blog: Hotlinking To Be Disabled January 31, 2011
2011 is year of the Server-Side JavaScript – Assaf Arkin writes about why server-side JavaScript is getting bigger, despite being around since the beginning of JavaScript
jQuery’s $.extend is slow is a real example of a performance hit paid for an abstraction provided by a JavaScript library
Top 10 Things that JavaScript Got Wrong is a very nice concise introduction to some idiosyncrasies when using JavaScript
pyxc pj (”pixie pj”) is a Python Cross-syntax Compiler from Python syntax to JavaScript syntax
Ask HN: What charts javascript library to use? – a question on Hacker News elicits some comments about some good JavaScript charting libraries available
Testing REST services with JavaScript – Alexander Beletsky talks about testing REST APIs on the client-side, right where they will be used
Building Large-Scale jQuery Applications – Addy Osmani lays out the particulars of developing large-scale projects: dependency management, MVC code organization, tempting, pubsub implementation, build process, minification, and testing.
YQL: Using Web Content For Non-Programmers by Christian Heilmann is a gentle introduction to using perhaps the best API created (in my very biased opinion)
jQuewy is ironically a YUI3-style easy way of loading other JavaScript libraries. Helpful for speeding up prototyping, or perhaps for the extremely lazy.
Tobi: expressive server-side functional testing with jQuery and jsdom
CouchDB from JavaScript – about using the built-in CouchDB jQuery extension couch.js
jsFace is a framework for implementing Object Oriented Programming in JavaScript

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