Modern JavaScript for Ancient Web Developers

There’s a certain kind of old-school, backend web developer who, a long time ago, mastered things like Perl or Python or PHP or Java Server Pages, maybe even Rails or Django. This person worked with giant relational databases and built APIs that serve up JSON and even (gasp!) XML.

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This person is a backend developer, so for a long time, JavaScript was just a fun little toy that added a bit of frontend trickery that could make things on a web page change color. If JavaScript was being really useful, it would add form validation that helped prevent the wrong information from getting into the database. Eight years ago jQuery blew this person’s mind. JavaScript itself was a language one merely tolerated, but never embraced.

Then JavaScript and its modern frameworks ate backend, frontend, and everything in between, and it was time to re-become a web developer in 2017 — who writes JavaScript.

Hi. I’m an ancient web developer who is learning modern JavaScript. I’ve just gotten started and I’m having a ball, but I’ve also got whiplash. There are a few things I wish I’d understood and accepted about the world of modern JavaScript before I got started.

Here are some of the changes I had to make to my own mindset and expectations around learning a new ecosystem based on an old language which has taken over my craft.

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