The Dressler Blog

When you build digital stuff all day, you develop opinions. Lots of opinions.

Back

Digital Trends

Javascript. The Cool Kids Are Doing It. There are three core technologies that power the internet, HTML, CSS and Javascript. Generally speaking, HTML holds the content, CSS makes up the styling and Javascript does almost everything else. “Almost everything else” is a lot of stuff nowadays. That’s why all the cool web developers maintain their coolness by staying current on the latest Javascript frameworks and libraries. If you’ve ever sat cluelessly while a group of developers discuss JSON, Jquery, Angular, Node, Backbone or React, you know the debilitating pain of Javascript ignorance. Fear not, fellow clueless person, I am here to give you just enough knowledge to bluff your way through that meeting. Today, we’re going to talk about the javascript tools you should pretend to know about… Node.js Node was one of the first cool Javascript frameworks. It’s a great framework for building server side web applications. What does that mean? Well, say you want to build a questionnaire on your website for customers to give feedback, then you want the data from that questionnaire to be cross-referenced and shared out to people in management through a web interface. You would probably use Node. Node has some really nice qualities that are shared by many javascript frameworks. It’s open source which means people are always building useful technologies on top of it. There’s lots of publicly available code that can be repurposed from other people’s projects. And it’s minimal. Minimalism is a good thing in a framework because it’s easy to customize. If a framework is too well-defined it can only do one thing well. Node does lots of things well. Application to Marketing: In marketing, lots of what we do depends on inputting and outputting data. Inputs generate a lot of data which needs to get processed on a server somewhere. The outputs can be handled as API’s (Application Programming Interface) which feed our data to someplace else. Node handles these tasks very well. When in doubt, say to your developer “should we just build it in Node?” Chances are, he’s going to say “yes” and be slightly impressed. (But only slightly.) Availability: Node has been around since 2009 but it started getting really popular in 2011. That’s ancient history where javascript frameworks are concerned. Node has lasted because it works. Read More JSON JavaScript Object Notation (or JSON) is almost 15 years old. So, it’s only cool in the sense that Green Day is cool. But it’s still something everyone should know about. Developers use JSON to send real time data from a server to a browser. Real time data has become the killer application of the modern internet. When I want to know the weather, when I want to hear the news, when I want to order a package of Pampers pull-up diapers (for my child!), I need real time information. That’s where JSON comes in so handy. Application to Marketing: JSON is super convenient because it is able to load data asynchronously. Have you ever had a site “blink” when you clicked on something? The site is blinking because it isn’t loading data asynchronously. It needs to reload the entire page, rather than just update the information that interests you. JSON gets rid of those blinks. Nowadays, if your site blinks, you are seriously uncool. Like Hootie and the Blowfish uncool. Because the technology you are using is contemporaneous with Hootie and the Blowfish. Availability: Green Day’s American Idiot came out in 2004. JSON came out in 2002. This is something you should know about. Read More Angular.js Web sites are easy to build. Web apps are hard. But more sites now include “app-like elements” which necessitates the building of user interfaces. Angular makes building those interfaces much easier because it breaks up your code into a framework. Particularly with larger projects, Angular makes it possible for a team of developers to work together; all of them plugging their code into the appropriate place in the framework. Angular was developed by some people from Google, who know a little something about large scale development projects. Application to Marketing: If you’re not building web apps at this point, chances are good that you will be soon. My team used Angular recently to build a user interface for a company that sells frozen pizzas in supermarkets. Everyone is doing it, which isn’t necessarily a reason for you to jump on the Angular bandwagon. But it’s mighty convenient when you need to make changes to have used a technology that “everyone” knows how to work with. Availability: It’s been around since 2009. Read More React.js If you want to see your developers become deliriously happy, ask them if they’d like to build something in React. React is cool. For developers, it is the equivalent of dating a supermodel. (Must…resist…obvious…joke…) React was popularized by a group of developers at Facebook and Instagram who used it to develop user interfaces quickly and efficiently. But then, they introduced React Native and the internet exploded. (Not literally.) React Native allows developers to use their knowledge of Javascript to build truly native interfaces for iOS and Android. It’s so simple and intuitive to use, that many developers who have been building native apps for a long time are switching over to React for interface development. Application to Marketing: iOS and Android developers are very expensive. Javascript developers are less expensive. If you';re building an app, you would be better served to use a technology known to a larger population of less expensive developers. Also, it is easier to build an app for both Android and iOS when you are using React to build the views in both. Availability: It’s newish. React Native only came out this year. But it’s already following the typical pattern of open source javascript frameworks and attracting a large, supportive developer base. Read More

Give us your email to sign up for our weekly Dressler Digital Trends. Stop trying to keep up and start getting ahead.