Posts Tagged ‘architecture’


JavaScript for the Flex Dev Slides

04.16.2012

Presented at 360|Flex 2012 in Denver, Colorado.


JavaScript Architecture: Underscore.js

12.19.2011

Underscore.js, like jQuery, is a toolbox of utilities. Check out the website for a list of functionality it provides, but I’ll split it into two parts:

Array/Object/Function manipulation

As we create software is seems like we come in contact with the same patterns over and over. Usually, we end up re-writing them over and over as well. Take an array of user objects, each with a username property. We need an array of all the usernames from all the objects. So, like many times before, we create a new array to populate, create a for loop, snag the object at the current index, grab the username and push it into the array.

To me, that’s boring. It’s mundane. Underscore makes it fun again. With Underscore, we just use pluck():

var usernames = _.pluck(users, 'username');

Ah…concise, fast, and boilerplate is gone. Want to find all objects within an array that pass a specific test? Use the filter() function. Just want a reference to the first one that passes the test? Use the find() function. Want to retrieve the union of two arrays, that is, retrieve a single array of all unique objects contained within multiple other arrays? Try the union() function. Merge properties of multiple objects into a single object? Use extend().

Once you grasp the power of Underscore you’ll find yourself being more productive with less code while having more fun. Some have called it the bowtie for jQuery’s tux. I concur. Continue reading »


JavaScript Architecture: Organization and Quality

12.05.2011

Never build large apps

Justin Meyer, the main guy behind JavaScriptMVC, said something I feel is a very simple principle every architect should ingrain into their brain:

The secret to building large apps is NEVER build large apps. Break up your applications into small pieces. Then, assemble those testable, bite-sized pieces into your big application.

I don’t think any other principle will carry more weight in architecture–especially with JavaScript. You may be thinking, “Oh, my application isn’t big enough to follow this principle.” Re-think this. Every application I’ve architected–even the smallest of the small–have benefited from this principle. The pieces of your application must be decoupled and cohesive as much as humanly possible to withstand the test of time. Each piece should be as black-box as possible–pass information over the wall and the next component does its job. And I don’t just mean different views of your app; I also mean individual, small components of your views, models, and everything you build. This presentation on Scalable JavaScript Application Architecture does a great job of explaining these principles in more detail. Continue reading »


JavaScript Architecture: The Basics

12.03.2011

This post is intended to be the first of a series. I want to be clear about what it entails and its intended audience.

For the past several years I’ve been an architect in enterprise-level RIAs. This is a fancy way of saying I oversee the design and construction of apps that are web-based but have a lot of the same characteristics as desktop applications. Some of the applications I work on are in fact desktop applications but heavily communicate with the web. The line becomes very blurry, but the main point is–I deal with applications which in my world are quite different than what is often considered a “website” even though they both live within a browser.

There are others in the industry who do what I do or would like to do what I do. Of those there are some who are new to JavaScript. This is my intended audience. An architect arriving at JavaScript for the first time has a lot to learn and many decisions to make. As the lead architect on a product and being fairly new to JavaScript (well, modern JavaScript) I likewise had to go through this process and have spent countless hours re-learning JavaScript, testing IDEs, discovering communities, exploring deployment procedures, learning what questions to ask, evaluating libraries (mvc, dependency management, dom manipulation, testing, deployment, utilities) and putting all these things together to lead a team and produce an application worthy of enterprise consumption. My hope is to help others along the way. Continue reading »


Nimbus – MVC Framework Intro

04.25.2009
UPDATE: Since the writing of this post, I’ve converted to and fully endorse Robotlegs as my MVC framework of choice. I invite you to check it out.


For those who don’t know, Nimbus is a Flex MVC framework (or micro-architecture for the technically-inclined). Sponsored by Rain, we develop it primarily for use on our applications but make it available for public use and encourage the community to contribute.

Nimbus pulls core concepts from Cairngorm but is meant to cut out a lot of the plumbing developers groan about when they hear “Cairngorm.” It’s light, but it’s not fluffy. Baked in are those rare and tasty flavor morsels you thought only existed in those Funfetti cupcakes your grandmother bakes with love on your birthday. Continue reading »