Reflections on NationJS 2013, part 1, the Morning Sessions

My morning began pleasantly with an easy drive from Columbia to Silver Spring. Kudos to the House Republicans who shut down the federal government just so I could have a faster commute to NationJS! I can’t say how much I appreciate having congressman who know how much I hate sitting in traffic and are willing to go to such great lengths to convenience me. As I write this now, it’s been nearly two weeks of the shutdown. I guess I forgot to tell my Tea Party friends that NationJS was only one day.

This very first NationJS was being held at the Silver Spring Civic Center, right next to the Silver Spring Metro Station. I parked right across the street for $1 an hour. Probably not the cheapest spot, but it won’t break the bank.

Breakfast was provided — muffins, bagels, coffee, juice. Quite a few people were there early, which surprised me. There were also plenty of extension cords, but I’m glad I brought my Haskell laptop, so I didn’t have to constantly worry about trying to find an outlet.

The following are my impressions of the four morning sessions I attended. They are in no way meant to be anything near a complete transcript.

New Rules for JavaScript by Kyle Simpson

Kyle started off the keynote with the statement “I’m known for strong opinions” which was a good sign. He introduced some of the projects he was working on such as

What’s in a Name?

I participated in a code review yesterday, and while there were many things I wanted to say, I only think of the right thing to say an hour after it’s all over. What I wanted to say was

The most important thing you can do to improve the quality of your code is to choose good names.

At least, that’s the way I feel right now. I reserve the right to change my mind tomorrow.

It’s really important to remember that naming is not just an action you apply to passive code. The goal of good naming should drive your design and your coding in much the way that Test-Driven Development’s goal of writing tests first is supposed to drive your code design.1 In fact, this practice of active naming so important, I think that it deserves a name — Name-Driven Development. Anyway, here are some advice on naming methods.

Continue reading