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Secrets of Awesome JavaScript API Design

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It doesn’t take long for most developers to sniff out a poorly-designed JavaScript API. Within minutes of reading about or coding against a new library, most developers can intuit whether their long-term relationship with that library will be a pleasant or unfortunate one. While documentation, buzz and other factors certainly play into that conclusion, the largest influencer of that snap conclusion is the “feel” of the API itself. APIs are developer UX: A good one raises a developers enjoyment; a bad one sends it plummeting.

As developers, we know what good and bad JavaScript APIs “feel” like, and yet we struggle with designing the kind of APIs that we enjoy using. But principles of good JavaScript API design do exist, and it’s possible to extract them from several key libraries in the the proliferating JavaScript landscape. In this article, Brandon Satrom will do exactly that, digging into the design aspects of popular libraries like jQuery, Backbone, Modernizer, Kendo UI and others to enumerate the designed-in qualities of these libraries that make them not only popular, but a pleasure to use.

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Brandon Satrom

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Brandon Satrom (@BrandonSatrom) is Program Manager for Kendo UI and is based in Austin, TX. An unabashed lover of the open web, Brandon loves to talk about HTML, JavaScript, CSS, open source and whatever new shiny tool or technology has distracted him from that other thing he was working on. Brandon has spoken at national and international events, and he loves hanging out with and learning from other passionate developers, both online and in person. He also loves writing and, in addition to having several articles featured in publications like MSDN Magazine and .net Magazine, he’s hard at work on the book, “Building Apps for Windows 8 in JavaScript”, slated for release December 2012.

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Brandon Satrom
05/29/2013 3:05am PDT

Slides are available at https://speakerdeck.com/brandonsatrom/secrets-of-awesome-javascript-api-design

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