glittering katie ✨

💌 A Love Letter to JavaScript

February 14, 20202 min read

Dear JavaScript,

We’ve barely spoken in the past year but I still think about you. You were my first self-taught language and it built me a career. JavaScript, you taught me to let go some of my perfectionism because it’s so easy to just get started, and make something, knowing that iterations will always be necessary. And it was through you that I learned to love functional programming.

I met you, briefly, sophomore year of high school. It was before I even knew what computer science was but I met you and I knew that I liked programming. I learned Pascal, Java, C, C++, and eventually I’d come back to you.

In bits.

Over years.

College told me I’d be an embedded programmer, learn C, go to Intel. I applied to a 6 month web development internship. Finally we reconnected and you, JavaScript, started my career. 6 months turned into 3 years.

You’re not perfect and oh boy did I try to make up for it. Paralyzed, I’d sit, not sure where to start because there were so. Many. Different. Ways. To start. And that is the lesson you taught me: get started now, with something, a small version of my goal. Getting started is the hardest part but if I can do that fast, the next iteration will get me to a closer, better state.

Over and over until perfect can’t be the enemy of done.

I stood on the shoulders of those who have shot themselves in the foot and learned how to be safer in JavaScript. I saw in you what functional programming looked like. Not all at once, but little by little. Incrementally.

From so many other people who also loved you and wanted you to be better, I learned pure functions; I learned to make every variable a constant; and I learned to love your libraries of composable functions.

I learned Haskell and Elm not in spite of you, JavaScript, but because of you.

Thank you for all that you’ve done, all that you were, and all that you taught me.

You may not be perfect, but goddamnit did we grow.


Written by Katie Hughes, your friendly neighborhood software engineer. You should follow her on twitter or see what she's up to on github 👩‍💻

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