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My Top 4 Takeaways from NFJS 2013

One of the best software development conferences you can attend is the No Fluff Just Stuff (NFJS) conference. The conference  is small and the speakers are mostly consultants working in the field.  I attended my 9th NFJS conference this year, and as always, came away with some great information that I can use right away.  So here are my top 4 takeaways from NFJS 2013:


After seeing CoffeeScript, I don’t think I will ever write JavaScript again.  CoffeeScript is to JavaScript what Groovy is to Java.  It provides a much simpler syntax than JavaScript by incorporating language features from Ruby and Python.  CoffeeScript compiles into pure JavaScript and is compatible with all JavaScript engines.  You can learn more at the CoffeeScript website.

HTML5 Offline Applications

The HTML5 specification supports client side storage so that applications can work in an offline mode.  All of the latest desktop and mobile browsers support HTML5 client side storage. To tell the browser that you application supports client side storage you have to add the “manifest” attribute to the html tag at the top of the document.  You can read more about it in this IBM DeveloperWorks article.

Server Side JavaScript

There is a JavaScript runtime engine called Node.js.  The authors designed it for building fast, scalable network applications.  Node.js allows you to try JavaScript without needing a browser, by running the Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop (REPL).

Node.js has a large ecosystem.  For example, there is NodeUnit and Buster.js for testing, Jade for templating, Express for web applications, and Connect for middleware.  Even CoffeeScript will run inside Node.js.  This ecosystem is managed using the Node Packaged Modules (NPM) registry.

NodeUnit and Buster.js provide new ways to test JavaScript, either within a browser or Node.js.  This is important since jsUnit is not longer actively maintained.

Learn more at the Node.js website.

Android Development

Google is working on Android Studio, which is built on the community edition of Intellij IDEA.  You can learn more and download the early access preview from the Android Developers Blog.

A great book for Android development is “The Busy Coders Guide to Android Development” by Mark Murphy.  He uses an annual subscription model for the book and updates it regularly. He adds new material each month.  This way your book is never out of date. You can subscribe to the book at the CommonsWare website.

It is possible to speed up the Android emulator!  Intel has developed the Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM).  Selecting this as the emulator will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to start the emulator.  You can learn more and download the HAXM at the Intel website.

Would you like to view your physical Android device on your computer?  Well now you can, using a program called Droid@Screen by Jens Riboe.  You can learn more at the Droid@Screen website.

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