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Meetup Notes: Vancouver JavaScript – August 9, 2011

I was fortunate to be able to attend the VanJS Meetup (“Chrome Dev Tools and Waterbear“) on Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at SFU Harbour Centre . Here are the talk abstracts from the VanJS page for this Meetup:

The Chrome Developer Tools: Boris Smus is a member of the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google. He’s going to dig in to some of the incredible stuff you can do with the Chrome dev tools, especially some of the new features in the bleeding edge versions of Chrome. He’s also going to talk about extending the dev tools. Even if you think you already know the Chrome dev tools, prepare to be impressed.

Visual programming with Waterbear: Dethe Elza is the lead developer of Waterbear, a visual programming metaphor environment written with JavaScript. Inspired by Scratch, its goal is to make it easy for kids and adults alike to program for the web. Dethe was a Track A speaker at JSConf 2011, and has new developments to show us based on feedback from that talk.

What follows are some of my quick notes from the talks, along with links to resources, tools, libraries mentioned during the talks and ensuing dialogue.

WaterBear by Dethe Elza

Different visual programming paradigms were mentioned, including:

JSBin, JSFiddle, Ace – tools for online development of JavaScript were mentioned.

Waterbear – programming for kids, inspired by Skracth (which outputs JavaApplets).

Waterbear was forked to Scriptastic

[Aside – I overheard another attendee complain about people he interviews for Javascrpt developer positions not knowing anything about closures in Javascript. If you are applying for jobs that make heavy use of JavaScript, you better understand & know how to use closures!]

Some future development – interacting with serial ports & hardware. Some projects that have started to make interacting with serial ports and hardware possible include Chromless, Fluid, and Titanium. Another possible approach is Node server along with AJAX calls. Other projects along this line are Webintents and WebActivities (?).

Twitter: @waterbearlang

There was a quick call for community contributions of additional Waterbear demos to help show the possibilities of this visual programming language.

An interesting aside was that a UK contributor has used Waterbear to create Arduino code. Arduino is “an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”

One future development wish is adding features that parse general Javascript into a format that can be used by Waterbear.

The Chrome Developer Tools by Boris Smus

The slides (creaded using SlidesJS) for this talk are available at Boris demonstrated many interesting & useful features of the development tools available in Google’s Chrome browser.

During the talk there was mention of Weinre (Web Inspector Remote) to help remotely develop & debug web applications built for mobile devices.

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