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SurviveJS connects the dots and fills the gaps left by the latest JavaScript tools and their documentation. With its detailed step-by-step tutorial approach, SurviveJS gives practical examples of code and configuration while providing context for choosing one method over another.

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Do you think bundling is relevant after HTTP/2 ?

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I read your book since it appeared as beta on leanpub.com. You are always updating faster than I could give feedback. So I take this AMA as an opportunity and ask you about why you haven't many pictures in your book. Will v3.x maybe use some more pictures? Some with a similar design style maybe?​

Yeah, I agree the book could use more pictures. Often it's an oversight on my part as I've failed to understand some part might use those. Open issues and I'll get them sorted out eventually.

I have some ideas on where to improve (VDOM for instance) but I'm too close to the material to see some obvious spots for illustration.

I'm currently splitting up the first book (still work left with that :( ) to make room for more content. That will be a good chance to improve this department as well.

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What advice will you give to beginners who want to get started with React/webpack, but are overwhelmed while choosing a learning path. And how can SurviveJS help them?

I feel a lot of complexity lies in understanding the ecosystem and being aware of what exists. That is something I wanted to tackle with this effort. I wanted to bring separate threads together into something coherent. Interestingly the effort has taught a lot to me as well. Often community is smarter than me. :)

You can definitely pick it all up from various online resources, but there's always the trouble of hunting them down and making them work for you. And this material gets old quite fast! It's bit of a challenge for an author to try to keep up with the progress. That's something I've wanted to do with this effort. I see it as a long term commitment.

You Can Choose What to Learn

It's good to understand that you don't necessarily need to learn webpack to get started with React. You can just pick up some setup and go. It's an amazing tool, though, and eventually you may want to understand it in greater detail. I am in the process of splitting up the book to highlight this fact and make it easier to learn the nooks and crannies of it. It's good to be aware of its capabilities.

In the near future you can get started straight with React without having to delve through webpack specifics. Or if you don't care about React, you can dig into webpack and understand it in greater detail.

How to Approach

There is no one right way to pick up technology. I feel it depends on how you like to learn. Some people want to go through books on their own time, for some it's enough to study examples. Or you can follow some nice video tutorials to see how things are done. All approaches have their merits and you'll need to find something fitting your learning style.

Sometimes material will just "click" with you and it will make it easier to learn. As an author the challenge for me is to allow this to happen.

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Thanks for creating SurviveJS. What front-end tools/technologies do you use these days and like the most?

The effort has forced me to learn a lot about technologies I would have most likely otherwise skipped or picked up later. That's a benefit I didn't anticipate when I started doing this. A lot has happened just during the past year alone and it has been fun to be on the ride.

I Use Webpack and React

I rely heavily on webpack and React these days. In fact, the site is powered by them through Antwar, a little static site generator. I want to publish a solid public version of that somewhere in the near future, but the principles are simple and the source might be worth studying. Think it as the webpack of static site generators.

I used Redux with React on a recent project. It's one of those technologies worth understanding. There's not that much to learn. I see it more as a guideline rather than a library. But that's a good thing as you can shape your application on top of that. I am aware it's not the perfect fit for every project, but it's highly useful if you want an explicit data flow for your application.

Looking Forward

Looking forward MobX is very promising. It does certain things the opposite way than Redux (mutability is ok, references are fine) and it happens to fit Kanban well as evidenced by a demo implementation we did. There's a tradeoff to be made as it's not as explicit as Redux, but that can be a good thing depending on what you are doing.

Conclusion

I think we'll see more development on the scene as ideas from the existing solutions (Redux, MobX, Relay, all that) begin to converge. Perhaps we'll have something completely different in a year or two that makes the current solutions look antique. That happened a couple of times already so I don't see why it couldn't happen again.

It's both a good and frustrating time to be a front-end developer. It's good in sense that it has never been better. But the amount of innovation can be quite exhausting if you try to keep up all the time. I suppose they call it bleeding edge for a reason.

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Is Mobx covered in your SurviveJS book?

Not yet. I'll need to make a decision very soon about when to cover it, though. It's either Redux or MobX. Going with MobX next would bring the complexity of the book down somewhat.

The book example translates beautifully to MobX. We wrote a little demo if you want to check that out. There's also an interview of the author at the blog.

Thanks for asking.

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