Ajax: Tools of the trade

A rich array of tools for the modern JavaScript developer

Where JavaScript developers were once tool-deprived, today we're often overwhelmed with the abundance of options. In this article, Foundations of Ajax author Nathaniel T. Schutta reviews development environments, debuggers, testing tools, and utilities that elevate JavaScript to first-class status in the Web development world. If you're still programming JavaScript in a text editor, this survey of the modern tools landscape should open your eyes -- and could make your life much easier. Level: Beginner

JavaScript is one of today's most widely used -- and misunderstood -- programming languages. Though it has been a part of the Web development toolbox for years, many developers shunned it after struggling with browser incompatibilities and hitting the limits of alerts as a debugging tool. For some time, the solution was a détente: many software engineers retreated to the comfortable confines of the server and left the JavaScript work to user interface designers. But then the earth moved: Jesse James Garrett coined the term Ajax, a new generation of Web applications was born, and developers' interest in JavaScript was renewed.

If you're one of those who've recently returned to the JavaScript fold, you might be surprised to find a rich suite of tools awaiting you. JavaScript programming today entails more than just a text editor and a great deal of patience. In this article I provide you with an overview of the modern JavaScript developer's toolkit, including IDEs that offer code completion, debugging aids that extend beyond alerts, code and UI testing tools, and other helpful utilities.

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