News roundup: Lessons from a rewrite, enable CORS, RIP conditional comments in IE

Podcast!

JSMag News Roundup for July 10, 2011

This week the podcast returns! Thanks for listening! Still working on getting a proper podcast XML setup, so stay tuned in.

Lessons from a rewrite

Whenever a famous JavaScript person writes a post, they usually get a lot of attention, and sometimes undeservedly so. However, Rebecca Murphey has been writing good posts lately that do deserve your attention, because they address practical problems that we’re all facing as a community at the moment. Namely: how do you write large-scale JavaScript applications and get all the pieces to fit together nicely?

Her latest post “Lessons from a rewrite” deals with the issue of tackling an existing piece of software that’s been built, or scrapping it and rewriting it all from scratch. There’s also good discussion on writing large JavaScript applications in general (with Dojo code, but applicable anywhere).

Enable CORS

Enable CORS is a simple little informational site to evangelize CORS, cross-origin resource sharing, what you might know better as cross-domain XHR. The same-origin restriction on XHR is the most frustrating thing about XHR, and what prompted the creation of techniques such as JSONP, which require the service to be rewritten to support adding a callback function. For modern browsers that support cross-origin XHR, the only thing a service needs to do is set a specific header (Access-Control-Allow-Origin).

Not too long ago I requested this feature from the Closure Compiler service and they were happy to implement it, because it took minimal effort. So now the challenge for you all: request this feature from your favorite service!

RIP conditional comments in IE

Conditional comments, the handy proprietary HTML only available in Internet Explorer, are on their way out in IE10, Microsoft announced recently. This seems sad, but it’s encouraging, as it shows that IE (as of version 10) might finally be ready to be standards-compliant enough that we can rely on simply feature detection, like we do in other browsers.

Conditional comments have been useful, especially for targeting strange CSS bugs that only appear on certain versions of IE. It’s sad not being able to do things using our handy familiar techniques, but it’s something that had to be done eventually to bring IE in line with the other browsers. It’s one of many things Microsoft has done recently to open up to being more standards-compliant. And that’s the bottom line, really: conditional comments are by definition not standards-compliant.

Releases

pdf.js 0.2 – greatly improved rending

Backbone.js 0.5.0 now supports pushState (with degradation to hash tags for older browsers)

Libraries, frameworks, etc.

DropKick is a jQuery plugin for creating custom dropdowns

leaflet is an open-source interactive map library that uses OpenStreetMap tiles

jsplumb is a framework to build flowcharts and diagrams

Cuepoint JS is a plugin for adding cue-points and subtitles to videos

The code for jQuery’s fixed toolbars has been extracted and made to work without depending on jQuery Mobile (it does however seem to still depend on jQuery).

Tidbits

YUI and Loader changes for 3.4.0

Socketbug is a new remote debugging tool for mobile web applications

jslibs has a wiki with some interesting advanced JavaScript tips and tricks

(slides) jQuery Proven Performance Tips And Tricks

Handy chart comparing the HTML5 video players out there

The folks at Sencha have checked out the HTML5 capabilities of the HP Touchpad and found it to be “rough around the edges”, but shining in some places, such as blazing fast Canvas rendering.

The this keyword in JavaScript is a good article that explains the sometimes peculiar nature of “this” in JavaScript, and how it changes in ECMAScript 5 strict mode.

Node.js

kue is a redis-backed priority job queue for node.js

What is Node.js is another good introduction to Node

Upcoming Events

Open Web Camp III (July 16, 2011 in Palo Alto, CA)
SoCal Node.js Meetup (August 4, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA)
NodeConf Summercamp (September 5-7, 2011 in Walker Creek Ranch, CA)
Frontend Conference (September 9-10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland)
dojoconf (September 16, 2011 in Arlington, VA)
CapitolJS (September 18, 2011 in Washington DC)
onGameStart (September 22-23, 2011 in Warsaw, Poland)
Node.js Conference Italy (September 24, 2011 in Brescia, Italy)
indieconf 2011 (November 19, 2011 in North Carolina, US)

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