A path for quickly becoming productive with Node.js

If you’re an experienced web developer, and you want to learn Node.js and be somewhat productive with your time, here’s an easy path to begin with.

I’ll assume you know raw JavaScript and a little raw Node. Enough JavaScript to be familiar with the DOM, anonymous functions, and callbacks. You dont have to know React or anything of the sort.

First up, Learn enough to recognise the new syntaxes in ES2016, along with promises, arrow functions, generators and async await. You don’t have to be good at them; just be able to know how to read them.

Now learn enough Node and NPM to start a vanilla Express server and realise how much work it would be to write a whole fully featured web application in it.

Now quit jQuery, cold turkey.

If you come from using a Rails-like framework such as Rails, Django or Laravel, the though of scouring NPM for all the packages you’ll need, you’ll be wanting someone to make opinionated decisions about the right packages for the job for you. May I suggest Adonis.js. It comes with all the MVC, Authentication and ActiveRecord stuff you’re used to, along with loads of other good stuff too. You’ll have a good reason to learn about Generators, Promises and async await here.

Resist the urge to jQuery.

If you want to write your front end as a single page application (SPA), to run in front of your API, you could use what you’re familiar with, or you can start afresh with Vue.js because it has the gentlest learning curve of any of the mainline frameworks, all the best stuff from the other frameworks, and you don’t even have to learn a bundled/compiler if you don’t need it.

Vue is easy to learn, easy to adopt, and you’re never forced into complicating things too early. Go at your own pace, and eventually you’ll learn about components, which will change everything. Get started with Vue’s single file components and never look back.

With Vue, you don’t need a router out of the box, until you know you do. You also don’t need state storage until you know you do.

You want to write a universal app, or use Material design you can do that when you want. Heck, you can even bring in JSX if you’re feeling that. And you dont have to add any of these packages to your project, until you need it, and in any order.

tl;dr: Learn enough JS and Node to spot new JS language constructs, starting with Adonis will give you a reason to learn the new stuff while giving you an easier path to success.

Disagree? Got a easier, faster path to productivity and learning all this crazy JS? Chime in below, or hit me up: @Glutnix on Twitter.

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