Monday, August 13, 2012

Visual Studio 2012–Debug in Chrome Incognito Mode

August 13, 2012 Posted by Jason No comments

Visual Studio 2012 makes it really easy to debug in your browser of choice. Personally, I like to debug web apps in incognito mode. It has the advantage that it doesn’t cache scripts or CSS files so I can be guaranteed that whatever files I’m seeing are the latest and greatest…Setup couldn’t be simpler:

Step 1

Click the arrow beside your existing (IE by default) browser, select ‘Browse With…’ and click the ‘Add..’ button.



Step 2

Enter the following information:


C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe



Friendly Name

Chrome Incognito


Step 3

Click on the Chrome Incognito browser option and get debugging.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Review - Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond Complete Video Compilation

August 04, 2012 Posted by Jason No comments

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this title from O’Reilly Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond Complete Video Compilation

O’Reilly’s first ever Fluent Conference took place in May of this year (2012). Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t make it to the event in person, O’Reilly recorded the sessions, making the entire conference available at $400 for a whopping 55 hours of video content. There is no doubt that JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world (we live in a world with over 1 trillion unique URLs) so conferences dedicated to this language are sorely needed.

The conference was split into 7 tracks: Ancillary Technologies, BusinessJS, Gaming, JavaScript in the Browser, Mobile Platforms, Node.js and Pure Languages, and there is something here for everyone. The first thing that hit me is the quality of the video/audio and production. Not only does O’Reilly have the resources to put on a conference like this, but they have the resources to do it right – and the quality is such that it feels that you are in the conference room watching the videos in person. It may seem like a small point, but if you’ve ever watched a conference or user group video where the picture was grainy, the sound was off, or the slides were not clear, you’ll appreciate the importance of good production values. Kudos to O’Reilly.

The content is fantastic and strikes a balance between emerging technologies/frameworks and plain old JavaScript. Technologies such as backbone.js, coffeescript, SpineJS, Bootstrap.js, ClojureScript, etc. etc. are discussed in varying degrees of detail and these are nicely complemented with talks regarding optimizing JavaScript code.

I still have a bunch left to watch, but so far my top 3 talks have been:

Both of Steve Souders talks

The first is a keynote and the second a ~40 minute talk on high performance snippets including an excellent snippet on how to make synchronous and potentially blocking scripts asynchronous. Steve is a renowned author and a  great speaker who keeps the audience constantly engaged. Though these shorts (especially the keynote) were short, I learned a lot – specifically when it comes to determining a website’s weakest link. I’d love to see Mr. Souders do a full workshop next year!

Sarah Mei’s Backbone.js workshop

Sarah works for Pivotal Labs and gave a workshop (4 videos totaling over 2.5 hours) on backbone. As a backbone novice I found this to be a really interesting and thorough introduction to the topic.

Elliott Sprehn’s - Rendering Screenshots on the Web with JavaScript

I wasn’t expecting to get much out of this talk. I knew nothing about Google Feedback prior to this conference, but it blew my mind. Not only because the technology – the ability to take screenshots via JavaScript – is so cool, but because the speaker did such a great job in explaining the trials and tribulations of developing such functionality. I recently reviewed The Tangled Web and could empathize (or at least understand) the frustrations that Mr. Sprehn outlined when dealing with the many peccadillos that make such an undertaking so difficult. What was also really cool was the speakers openness to sharing his knowledge and his pointers to projects like Html2canvas (which incidentally led me to the awesome feedback.js).

Stack Overviews

One feature of the conference was the inclusion of overviews of well known web companies’ (including Trello, Just.Me, SoundCloud,…) JavaScript stacks. I didn’t think this would resonate with me but I got hooked after watching Kris Rasmussen’s overview of the Asana stack – an application that I used daily and whose complexity I never fully appreciated. These are nice bite-sized videos that give some great insights into what other companies are doing


I haven no massive complaints about these videos. I was disappointed to see that the production quality of the ClojureScript video isn’t quite up to par with the other titles (much of the time you can’t see the the slides that are being discussed), but given the quantity of videos, I’d forgive one such transgression. I’d also have loved to see a talk or two by Douglas Crockford, but that’s less of a complaint than a suggestion for next year. I also didn’t get much from the Startup Showcase videos, but at a minute a piece they are easily ignored and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone from a minute of plugging their fledgling business so again, not really a complaint.

Summary (tl;dr;)

So, let’s address the cost. $400 is expensive, relative to the cost of purchasing books or other materials. But it is inexpensive relative to the cost of going to such a conference (I believe fluentconf ran at about ~$1200), let alone the necessary travel and accommodation costs. You also get to see all conference tracks – choosing one talk over another is the bane of conference goers everywhere – which makes it even more worthwhile. If you’re in the market for JavaScript material and can afford this bundle, buy it – you won’t regret it. I can’t recommend it highly enough!