Esri DevSummit: Keynote "Legend" (Day Two)

 Douglas Crockford presenting at Esri DevSummit

Douglas Crockford presenting at Esri DevSummit

Day two at the Esri® DevSummit began with the keynote presentation. This year's keynote speaker was Douglas Crockford, who is considered a JavaScript expert by the community. Crockford developed the data format JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), which is projected to overtake XML this year, based on Google Trends.  Furthermore, he is an accomplished author.  One of his most notable works is Javascript: The Good Parts – a best-seller for multiple years.  As you can probably tell by reading this, I was thrilled to hear from someone whom I consider a legend!

Crockford began his discussion by reminding the audience what our primary job is as a developer,

"We are paid to write programs that work well and are free of error."

Needless to say, every developer at some point in his or her career (probably more than once) has failed with the second part of that statement, including myself. Crockford pointed out the importance of scheduling our time appropriately, and that we, as developers, all need to work to improve in this area. He explained that developers need to consider the time it takes to develop the application, and the time it takes to make sure the code works well - emphasizing the code working well.

Star Trek vs. Star Wars

 "How do you live by the code" mural

"How do you live by the code" mural

When the topic of JavaScript surfaced, Crockford quickly pointed out that Java and JavaScript are not the same.  He went as far as to compare the two to Star Trek versus Star Wars, which most of us nerds in the audience appreciated. Crockford identified his love for how functions operate in JavaScript, and his belief that functional programming is better than static-typing.  He considers the closure in JavaScript as “a gift to humanity.”  He then touched on older “gems” (important components), within JavaScript that he has since stopped using such as: Object.Create, this, and null - to name a few. Regarding ES6, he shared what he considered to be highlights: tail call, module, spread operator (…), let and const, destructuring assignment, WeakMap, and multi-line string literals.  A few tools Crockford recommended for increasing developer productivity in JavaScript were JSLint, JSMin, and Regulex.

In summary, this was a memorable keynote discussion, and would highly recommend attending one of Douglas Crockford’s discussions. Crockford’s presentation was a snippet of the many information-packed sessions I was able to attend on the second day of DevSummit.