Learn Essential JavaScript Skills with Trailhead

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At Dreamforce 2014, we launched the Lightning Component framework; a new way to customize the Salesforce UI. With the launch of Lightning Experience and the framework going generally available, JavaScript has become a core skill of the Salesforce developer.

The Lightning component difference

Visualforce has been hugely successful. Like many server-side UI frameworks, it lowered the bar for front-end development. There was a good amount of customization available in markup alone. Plus, extending the logic of your page allowed you to fall back on the same Apex skills you would have used for a trigger or other custom logic.

With Lightning components being a client-side language, the role of Apex has lessened. Extending the functionality of your Lightning Component beyond the markup requires developers to attain a decent command of the JavaScript language.

Transitioning to JavaScript Skills

JavaScript is the language of the web and as programming languages go, it’s easy to pick up the basics. But mastery can be tricky — its peculiarities are well-documented. If you come from a classical server-side programming language background (like Apex), it can almost be more difficult for you to break out of what you know, into the world of JavaScript.

As a developer evangelist team, we’ve spoken and written a lot about JavaScript. But as an organization, we’ve never really tackled this persona of the experienced developer transitioning from a server-side language to JavaScript. Seeing a niche, and inspired by other training material like Dan Appleman’s pluralsight course, fellow developer evangelist Josh Birk and I presented the session JavaScript for the Salesforce Platform: A Beginners Guide at TrailheaDX 2018. We had a packed room, with a lot of positive feedback.

JavaScript on Trailhead

Building on the success of this session, I’ve built the Trailhead module JavaScript Skills for Salesforce Developers. This module is targeted toward an experienced Salesforce developer who is a relative newcomer to JavaScript.

After covering some general must know things about JavaScript (both the language and the runtime), this module walks you through basics of JavaScript in the browser and the DOM, Objects, Functions, Context and Scope, and finally some core asynchronous features of JavaScript. Each unit has code samples to support the discussion and also applies these concepts to how they are implemented in Lightning components.

More general purpose developer content?

We already have some ideas for more in-depth general JavaScript learning. But is there some general-purpose developer content you would like to see our Developer Evangelist team write or speak about? Post below with your ideas. We’d love to know what skill you think will be critical to your career development as a developer and if it might be a good fit for our blog or (of course) Trailhead!

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Peter Chittum

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