I hear ya cluckin' big chicken! the nervous rustling of code, tech, and life

Hot Web Chicks (part 2)

No doubt, there are some incredible female influencers in the web development space. My last article focused on women who have made big contributions to “Layout and Design”. This article focuses on a few women who are truly gifted in conveying concepts about JavaScript, programming in general, and the Vue.js framework.

These women share a knack for disarming complex and theoretical subject matter.

   Sarah Drasner

My first impression of Sarah Drasner was like WOW, this girl is a wizardess of web animation! One of my favorite presentations by Sarah is Animating Vue at the 2017 ReactiveConf in Bratislava, Slovakia. In many ways, this presentation perfectly exemplifies why Vue.js has become so popular.

In it, Sarah leverages animations (and transitions) as a conduit for explaining:
  • the Vue approach to reactivity, and
  • its intuitive and powerful baked-in abstractions, and
  • techniques when your use-case demands jumping outside the Vue box.
This YouTube is a newer and more polished take on her presentation in Bratislava.

Cool quote:
"we don’t have Boolean states when we’re looking at something, I didn’t just pop up on the stage, right? I transition on to the stage by like walking on."

As a member of the Vue core team, it’s hard to follow and learn Vue without being influenced by Sarah Drasner. Not only is she a master of Vue.js animation techniques, but she is also great at explaining ways to tackle problems and scenarios common to all web applications. Here are a few that I’ve found super-helpful: Replacing jQuery With Vue.js: No Build Step Necessary, and Form Validation in Under an Hour with Vuelidate.

More recently she seems to be moving more towards the exoteric by dabbling in topics like time-management, productivity, interpersonal communication skills, etc. See The Importance of One-on-Ones, Prioritizing and Learning to Learn.

Sarah Drasner is a true mover and shaker in the world of web dev, and she’s also a fellow Coloradoan!

   Anjana Vakil

An interesting thing about software development is that there can be a very philosophical slant to it. One way this manifests itself (and sometimes quite heatedly) is through comparisons of programming paradigms. Anjana Vakil transitioned from language and philosophy to software development and so she's is a natural at explaining things in terms of the “big picture”. In her Programming Across Paradigms presentation, she elegantly provides context and purpose to programming paradigms.

In the JavaScript world, and over the last 4-5 years, “Functional Programming” is one programming paradigm that has created quite a hubbub. The interesting thing about the functional paradigm is that it is perhaps easiest to learn and understand in terms of what it is not. Anjana Vakil is really good at defining “functional” in terms of other, less mysterious paradigms; object-oriented, imperative, declarative, etc. In one of her early presentations Learning Functional Programming with JavaScript (approaching a million YouTube views) she steps through a number of bite-sized, before-after JavaScript snippets to explain what is and isn’t “functional”. Her other presentations on functional programming (lots on YouTube) explain many important concepts in advanced JavaScript. For example how closures and higher-order functions influence reusable and predictable (testable) code. See Functional Programming in JS: What? Why? How?

If you need to come up to speed with functional programming in JavaScript, reach for Anjana Vakil!

More links: Twitter, and GitHub

   Mary Rose Cook

In terms of awe-inspiring brilliance, Mary Rose Cook is about as impressive as they come. A great example of this is her live-code of Space-Invaders (from scratch, no libraries in 30 minutes); although a bit nerdy, it’s wonderful schooling on object prototypes, Canvas and binding to keyboard input. 

From demystifying gaming algorithms to explaining JavaScript hoisting in terms of multi-pass execution (JS engine/runtime), to wonderful insights on how pure functions facilitate reuse and testing…she really is a gift to learning JavaScript and programming in general.

Cool quote:
"Functional code is characterized by one thing: the absence of side effects. It doesn’t rely on data outside the current function, and it doesn’t change data that exists outside the current function. Every other “functional” thing can be derived from this property. Use it as a guide rope as you learn."

More links: Her site, and YouTube channel.

That's it for this installment of "Hot Web Chicks". In the next and final chapter will have a look at gals who do cloud services and HTTP-based API design; REST, microservices, etc. I need help, know any good candidates?