A Minute With Brendan

Boot To Gecko (B2G)
Wed Oct 19 2011 |

Back from JSConf EU and other travels, the minute with team is happy to return with a special episode from Brendan about the new Boot To Gecko (B2G) system. This is targeted to allow users of mobile devices to boot directly to a Gecko based browsing interface and to run web applications. It is really doing some stunning work at Web Design Agency NY around the agile methodology in software development life cycle new web APIs and privilege model that all developers should be aware of. Enjoy!


ES6 Lives!
Fri Aug 05 2011 |

Brendan goes through the recent happenings at the ECMA TC-39 committee meeting held at Microsoft offices in Redmond, WA. For many, this might be the first peek into what is finalizing as ES6, so be sure to listen through. Luckily with the recent changes, ES6 might take forever to standardize, but prototypes are ready right now for some items! Listen in.

Also, be sure to check out PyCodeConf and DojoConf and help spread the word! It is what allows us to keep minute-ing along.

  • Past proposal point for ES6
  • Allen Wirfs-Brock
  • Destructuring Assignment
  • let and const
  • Open issues with Classes
  • Proxies
  • Google V8 have an implementation of prototypal proxies (and in spidermonkey)
  • ES6 is targeting end of 2013
  • Meeting notes
  • Microsoft (internal) Survey about compelling items from ES.Next (ES6 and ES5)
  • Some items had "Meh reactions" :)
  • Iterators and Generators
  • Demonstrated at NodeConf
We (Mozilla) Fight For the User
Thu Jul 21 2011 |

Hot on the heels of recent announcements from Mozilla about strategy, personnel, and general company changes, Brendan provides us with almost 12 minutes of very deep insight into the future of Mozilla and the web. As a long term citizen of the web, open source, and all that is right with technology, I (Chris Williams) applaud the strides and direction that Mozilla is making and most importantly the courage they have to make them. This is a long and deep episode that revolves around the following 5 points:

  1. Our mission obligates us to make the user sovereign and keep the web open and innovative.
  2. The rise of mobile computing requires new explorations, projects, and products to fulfill our mission. This means new Mozilla modules and activities.
  3. Mobile browsers and apps require always-available (i.e., cloud) services, working with the desktop to create a continuous user experience.
  4. Higher-layer services on the Web today, particularly for mobile, apps and user data or "social", pull away from open / user-as-sovereign toward closed / user-as-product.
  5. So our innovations to advance the mission must expand up the stack, from HTML, CSS, and JS, to mobile, apps, and social, always putting users first and in control.

Where I would normally summarize further, I really encourage you to take a full 12 minute break, listen, and understand this episode. It jumps around from open web app stores, mobile interface/devices, profiteering, growth, anticipating change, and beyond. Well worth your time.

PDF ala JS
Thu Jun 16 2011 |

Taking the web by storm, PDF.js is a PDF viewer implementation done entirely in open web technologies by some of the fine folks at Mozilla. Bringing the pixel publishing perfection that is PDF down to the JS layer is something that seems obvious, but has yet to be done - imagine a world without plugins (and all the happy people). Listen on Brendan's take of where it is and most importantly where it is going.

  • Demo
  • Pure JavaScript PDF Reader
  • Goal is display PDF in canvas using JavaScript.
  • Still in process, covering more of the PDF spec.
  • Demonstrate that it is possible to have an in-Firefox, memory-safe PDF experience.
  • PDF.js to be fast and cover the most common cases, not replace a full reader, just replace most of its use cases.
  • Tricks for speed where borrowed from various query libraries.
  • First in a series of efforts to move plugins into the JS space.
  • Google NativeClient.
Post JSConf JS.next Overview
Fri May 20 2011 |

Fresh off of JSConf and discussing (ES|JS).next before the audience, Brendan drops a bit of insight into what it takes to update a language like JavaScript. Sorry for the delay since last episode, we generally will go into "off-season" around JSConf.

  • Brendan's JSConf Presentation
  • TC-39 Committee Upcoming
  • "Rolling like the W3C and WHATWG with prototyping as they go."
  • Idea with harmony (next major addition) is to opt in with specification of script type, lack of specific type will yield "same old JavaScript"
  • adds a double layered versioning protection.
  • Modules
  • Lexical Scoping
  • Global object will not be on the scope chain
  • Upsides: security enhancements, VM implementation improvements, early error wins
  • Translation, compilation, and transpilers
  • Firefox 6 is in nightly channel
  • Awesome, opt-in, compiles down.
DOM In JavaScript (dom.js)
Wed Mar 30 2011 |

Another TC-39 Committee meeting means even more insight into where the JS programming language is heading next (ES-Next). This does send Brendan off on a wild ride with us as passengers for all things upcoming in the language including a peek at WebIDL and a DOM implementation in JavaScript. This is quite a deep look both into the current state of the TC-39 committee as well as where the DOM is heading. Enjoy!

  • Harmony of My Dreams
  • Harmony is still moving forward
  • There were mixed ideas about classes that have to fully gel.
  • "JavaScript is so flexible ... that people can't agree on how to do classes".
  • If classes aren't quite right, they may be left out.
  • Andreas Gal
  • dom.js
  • Early reports show that dom.js might be faster in some parts than native code because you don't have to cross between JS and C++ boundaries.
  • Rust
  • DOM NodeList
  • Airlift into Firefox Next ( in 3 months )
  • "The DOM is kind of CrazyLand"
  • "Implementing the DOM JavaScript should make all things saner"
  • WebIDL
  • Cameron McCormack
  • John Resig's env.js
Firefox 4 Launch Day
Tue Mar 22 2011 |

Brendan dives into the upcoming/recent Firefox 4 release on March 22, 2011. Goes into far more than just what is new, but where it came from and most importantly where it (and the rest of the vendors) are heading and why. Best 11 minutes of your day (12 minutes if you count downloading Firefox 4)

  • Launch Day March 22
  • "A lot of hardware acceleration", this is just the start
  • ,
  • Firefox is being built for the future of the web.
  • Windows XP is Firefox, Chrome, and Opera land.
  • The dream of the 80's alive in Mozilla
  • Voices From The HTML5 Trenches: Browser Wars IV
  • Have productive "coopatition" through standards bodies (W3C, etc.).
  • HÃ¥kon Wium Lie
  • Ian Hixie
  • David Baron
  • Dave Hyatt
  • Nerds + Drinks = HTML5
  • Yellow Screen of Death
  • Convergence over gaming
  • Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG) update (crypto nerds rejoice)
  • Discusses the potential splitting despite better features and yet the downside of single source stream.
  • Mozilla can't convert to webkit, it would take years
  • SGI and Netscape tried, SGI and Netscape aren't around longer.
  • Competition is good, different points of view are good, multiple sources are great for browsers.
  • Firefox is realization of where Mozilla started out heading towards
  • Keep the feedback coming, its critical!

From all of us at Minute With, Congrats Mozilla!

Do your part, download now and more importantly download it also on someone else's machine!

Why JavaScript Doesn't Have Operators Yet?
Thu Mar 10 2011 |

Brendan goes through the discussion of why JavaScript hasn't evolved that much, but more importantly how its evolving moving forward with ES5 and Harmony. Specifically the focus is on operators and the ability to override or extending the language with operator support. If you are looking to the future (and using from Python) much of this discussion will be super exciting for you. Bear in mind that the topics discussed here will not be "available" for a bit of time, but its great to see the language moving forward (and fast).

this Talk
Thu Mar 03 2011 |

Any JS developer will tell you that the hardest conversation to have with any other developer is describing the use and meaning of the "this" keyword. Brendan describes where "this" comes from, a hold-over from its C++ and Java lineage to allow functions to also be methods and thus had to have a receiving object and some way to access the receiving object within the function (i.e. "this"). Brendan goes into current uses up to modern ECMAScript specifications, but more importantly the altered use cases in the strict mode of ECMAScript 5 edition. Brendan also presents the future sharp function implementation which will better handle all cases (hopefully).

  • Don't file bugs against "use strict" unless you really know what you are doing and really test it. Example 1 | Example 2
  • Update on how #() {} from Harmony Of My Dreams will split out the cases
  • Hoping to end the !
Closure Versus Prototypal Pattern Deathmatch
Wed Feb 16 2011 |

Brendan gets a special request from the audience about which is more optimized and why, the Closure pattern espoused by Douglas Crockford, OR the standard JavaScript Prototypal inheritance pattern. A longer (or normal depending on perspective) and more nerdy dive than previous episodes, so prepare to have your mind blown away. Brendan discusses how the compiler can (and does) automatic optimization and caching on the prototypal pattern that is otherwise hard or complex, but more importantly not done, for the closure pattern. 10 minutes in all, but well worth your time - we promise.

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