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Javascript Toolbox

6 min read

I write Javascript most days and have done so for a few years now. I still find new tools, websites, frameworks and ways to do things. I thought I'd write them down and get the list online as it may help other people discover some useful tools of the trade. If you have any suggestions, stick them in the comments section.

##IDEs and editors

###Sublime Text 2

Your go to text editor. When you download it fresh, it won't feel like much but once you load it full of plugins that you can find at Package Control. It becomes a great tool for knocking up Javascript. I'll do another post on my sublime 2 plugins later.

Sublime Text 2

###Sublime Text 3

The younger more unstable brother of Sublime Text 2. I use this even though it's still in beta because it allows JSGutter to run Node.js and jshint my code in real time instead of just on every save or load.

Sublime Text 3


I used Webstorm in a project in my previous job, and I'm not sure whether it was my laptop being substandard or Webstorm being a resource hungry beast but it was slow and sluggish for a JS IDE. But, fast forward a year, I'm not sure if it got more efficient or my machine upgrades provide it with the juice it needs but WHOAAA! I'm running it on both Fedora 20 and OSX with i5 and i7 processors and 16Gb ram in each, it's the tool I was expecting it to be. Fast, great linting, unmatched intellisense. It's a great product. Sometimes you can get the feeling it's got too much on screen but it's just a case of finding the configuration that works for you. It is loaded with keyboard shortcuts so my advice is to print out a Webstorm cheatsheet and tack it to the wall beside your screen. When you start storing them in muscle memory, you'll barely even need a mouse in your life! Check out the 30 day trial!



This is worth a mention and with a tagline of "The hackable text editor" its definitely one to keep an eye on. A Javascript editor written in Javascript! It's being developed by GitHub. Imagine Sublime Text that you can write your own plugins in Javascript! I got on the beta trial a few months ago and it seemed a bit unstable but definitely a watch this space product! You can check out the github page where the code is hosted, I was suprised to find it written in CoffeeScript. I'm quite happy about this as I've just made the move to CoffeeScript myself.

##Online Javascript Playgrounds

I like this webapp to test out exactly what happens in a particular scenario that you're not quite sure what way Javascript will react. Yesterday, I had a case during a code review I was doing where a setInterval as being assigned to a var and a clearInterval was being called a little later, but a deviation in the code path caused a second setInterval to be assigned to that same var. I had suspected then that the var would only hold reference to the last one and therefore keep the first one ticking on but just wanted to make sure. A few seconds later I confirmed it and dinged the commit explaining why. It's also useful that you can send your JSFiddle to the person to explain what you mean.


Exactly the same idea as JSFiddle except I like the fact that it live reloads so you don't have to click a run button each time. Just write your JS and watch your logs appear in the console or output window


A very clean interface that does much the same as the above two. I get the feeling this is more for mocking up full html pages rather than just knocking out a bit of Javascript though. Some very interesting demos on the "Picked Pens" section of the homepage


Great website for comparing the performance of different ways to do the same thing. For instance, whether an incrementing for loop is quicker than a decrementing for loop or while loop or a for in loop. My team mate did a blog post about this a few weeks ago (For Loop Performance). These are only micro-performance improvements, but in work, I write Javascript to run in a browser on embedded devices with limited resources so every little helps!



###Javascript Jabber

My favorite Javascript podcast. They do weekly shows and have people on who are either working for some of the top Javascript companies or are big contributors to the open source JS community.

###Frontside the podcast

I've just started listening to this podcast and they seem to have a ton of interesting topics of discussion. Worth checking out.

Frontside the podcast

###Node up (& Node down)

My teammate at CAM tech just told me about these podcasts, apparently NodeUp is an already established podcast and they're starting a NodeDown for the Southern Hemisphere. I'll be checking these out. You should too!


I live in Sydney and there are many Javascript meetups. Just checkout I've been meaning to get myself to SydJS and the Sydney NodeJs meetups. Someday I'll get there.

###MongoDb Meetup MongoDb meetup is one I attend when I can. We use MongoDb in our side project so it's interesting to listen to case studies and experts talk about it. Also, Stennie (@stennie) and the rest of the Mongo crew are super friendly and always willing to help out if you have any issues with your Mongo implementation.

MongoDb Sydney User Group


###Javascript: The Good Parts - Douglas Crockford - O'Reilly

The first Javascript book I ever read. Takes you through all the concepts and topics you need to know about to get on your way to being a great Javascript programmer.

Javascript: The Good Parts

###Clean Code - Robert C. Martin

This is actually a book written about Java but I constantly refer to it no matter what language I write in which is why I'm including it in my list. It takes you through examples of bad code and explains why they are bad and how to make them better by transforming them into great looking, readable code. Because after all, 99% of the time, you're not writing code for you too look at, you're writing code which other people need to be able to maintain with ease.

Clean Code - Amazon

###CoffeeScript Cookbook

Just started reading through this online when I was learning CoffeeScript last week. Some great examples well laid out of all the different constructs and how they translate into Javascript. Along with the CoffeeScript website, you should be up and running in CoffeeScript in no time.

CoffeeScript Cookbook

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