Learning JavaScript

As my interest in learning Javascript grows, I have started to try and strategize how I should go about learning it. I have heard of several JavaScript frameworks, so I was wondering if I should start with one like Angular, Vue, Ember, or something, and in my research I found a blog post by Francois-Xavier P. Darveau with a very telling title: Yes, You Should Learn Vanilla JavaScript Before Fancy JS Frameworks. This is a post which details why Darveau believes that learning vanilla JavaScript is so important. He starts with a short story of his time in college in which he started to learn Node.js for a project and rather than quickly find libraries and do some Stack Overflow style copy/pasting to get the project working, he dove in and tried to do everything himself. Although it was time-consuming and arduous and was not exactly optimal, he had learned far more behind the scenes than he would have otherwise. He emphasizes that learning all the shortcuts from frameworks and libraries without knowing the how’s or why’s is more akin to pretending than real knowledge. He then explains the meaning of vanilla JavaScript, if not inferred before, as “plain JS without any additional libraries.” He notes that, of course, frameworks and libraries can be extremely useful and time-saving, a lack of vanilla JS knowledge can leave one helpless if something goes wrong or the field collectively decides to hop over to the next new best framework. Some framework pros and cons are detailed as well. Pros: abstracting hard code, shipping code faster and increasing development velocity, and focusing on an app’s value instead of its implementation. Cons: When work scales up and apps become more complex or multiple teams are working on multiple apps, there will no doubt be times when a deep JS understanding is needed to get everything to go smoothly. If a vanilla JS foundation is strong, the only thing changing when getting into a new framework will be mainly syntax. The speed at which new useful frameworks come out is faster than one can master them on their own, but with a vanilla JS understanding, you can already be a step ahead. He then provides plenty of resources for how to learn JS and where it can be studied. I found this very useful as I hope to learn much more JS soon. I have just done some work with Node.JS in order to implement a new REST API endpoint and I hope to get down JS as it becomes increasingly prominent in the CS world. I am also doing an independent study related to mathematical modeling and linear algebra using MATLAB in the upcoming semester, so maybe there will be an opportunity there to apply my JS knowledge.

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