November 24th, 2014


Hands-on Scala.js

I've burbled here about Scala.js, the increasingly-mature Scala-to-Javascript compiler that I am currently rewriting Querki in. (And I owe a writeup of my rant on the subject from a couple of weeks ago.)

One thing that Scala.js has lacked heretofore is a really solid *book*. There's a decent tutorial and a bunch of other useful information on the main website, and a growing body of community knowledge, but getting started looks a bit daunting, which is unfortunate: it's not actually a terribly hard technology to get started on, especially if you already know some Scala.

To help with that, Li Haoyi (one of the primary library-authors for Scala.js) today released a draft of Hands-on Scala.js, an online book aimed right at this problem. I'm just starting to read it myself, but at a quick skim it looks like just what the community needed. It starts off assuming only a fairly modest knowledge of Scala, Javascript and web development, and walks you through the rest: the rationale for using Scala.js, how to set up an environment, tutorials for various kinds of webby applications, and a final chapter going into depth on various major Scala.js topics.

As these sorts of books go it's pretty short (not having a publisher pushing up the page count helps), but it's still a book rather than an article: expect to take a while going through it. And please note that this a draft, albeit a late one: it's akin to a late-stage MEAP, so don't be surprised by an occasional typo.

Recommended reading to anyone who wants to keep their skills sharp and is interested in Web programming. IMO, Scala.js is one of the most important parts of the Scala ecosystem, and very much a tool whose time has come. Having a good guide for getting started in it should only make that better...

It's the little things...

The UPS guy just rang the doorbell; the box he was dropping off turns out to contain my new business cards.

On the one hand, I am painfully aware that they are non-mission-critical at best, and self-indulgent at worst. Getting the bloody beta done is what really matters at this point.

But still -- this is the first time one of my projects has been real enough to need professional business cards. Heck, this is the first time I've *had* business cards in, what, over ten years? I don't recall ever getting them from Memento, and maybe not from Convoq, although I do have a leftover (and possibly never-used) box from Convoq's original identity of Applied Messaging. And really, those projects never needed business cards: I was an in-the-trenches engineer, only occasionally interacting with real customers. (And while I did make a few up for CommYou, they were just inkjet-printed on Avery stock, which really is not the same thing.)

This time, though, it's all my baby, and I expect to actually go through this original order of cards pretty steadily as I talk to folks. (This was driven home by my Scala.js talk the other week, when I realized that I *totally* should have had a pile of business cards in front of me.) So Aaron and I sat down last week to talk through layout (he has more visual-design experience than I, and the right tools), and I just got them: nice heavy stock, glossy printing and all. They're pretty spartan as these things go, but that reflects the general Querki aesthetic of focusing on the relevant data instead of a lot of glitzy frou-frou.

Don't be surprised if I press one on you, and please pass it on if you find someone who might be interested. As beta approaches, it's finally getting to be time to talk this up properly...