More JS

Posted on in Training

More JS

Imperative vs. Declarative

In the last session we finished by making a distance calculator in vanilla JavaScript. We found that it was pretty easy to repeat ourselves. For example, when doing the initial render of the list, we wrote code to create a li element, fill it with content and add it to the list. We also wrote code to tot up the distances. The problem came when we added a form to let a user add another trip. All that code was needed again for this feature.

For the li appending feature, we wrote a helper function that added the element to the ul. As each individual route didn’t need to know about the previous data, we could do that.

For the total distance feature, we needed all the data to make the calculation so we couldn’t use an appending helper function. We needed to re-render the total each time, hence we wrote a ‘render’ function that destroyed the old data and put in new data.

For page load, we could run the helper function for each of the inital routes and call the render function once. Then for each form submittion, we called the helper function once and the render function once. We moved much of the duplication into functions (which is great), but we still have duplication for the helper function calls.

Duplication is an opportunity for errors to creep in, especially as a program expands. Say another developer came along and added a feature in a few months time that needed to add routes from a real-time database. If they didn’t realise they had to call two seperate functions to force a re-render, their could be problems.

This is an imperative programming style. This ‘programming paradigm’ is pretty common, it’s often how we start out developing simple programs. jQuery is regularly used in an imperative fashion: make this button yellow, fade this div out, change this text to say ‘hello’. We use statements to change the programs state, and we specify how the program operates.

Constrast this to the declarative paradigm where we describe the logic of the program without specifying how it should run. We can achieve this by de-coupling the inputs and outputs from the state. If the outputs always reflect the current state, we only need to worry about inputting to the state. So when our hypothetical future developer comes along, all they do is add another input to the state and the outputs will react to any changes.

Distance calculator in Vue.js

To make this clearer, I’m going to show a rewrite of our distance calculator in Vue.js, a framework that encourages you to be declarative.

JS shorthand operators

var a = 1

a++ // Eqivalent to: a = a + 1

a-- // Eqivalent to: a = a - 1

a += 2 // Eqivalent to: a = a + 2

a -= 2 // Eqivalent to: a = a - 2

var b = 'trys'
!!b // This is the boolean representation of 'b'. In this case, !!b === true


var c = d || 'default'

// Imagine: 
var c;
if (d) {
  c = d
} else {
  c = 'default'

This is great for falling back to defaults and is regularly used in functions for default arguments.


var a = 0
var b = 1
var c = a && b // 1

// Imagine: 
var c
if (!a) {
  c = b
} else {
  c = a

&& can be used before function calls to check variable/function existence before making the call:

var map = false
map && renderMap(map) // renderMap doesn't get called unless 'map' is truthy


var a = b ? c : d;

// Imagine:
var a
if (b) {
  a = c
} else {
  a = d

A module/singleton pattern

var Namespace = (function () {
  "use strict";
  return {
    Initialise: function () {

    Menus: function () {
      // Do menu things



Sidenote: $(fn) is equivalent to $(document).ready(fn).

You might not need jQuery…

(function(fn) {
  if (document.attachEvent ? document.readyState === "complete" : document.readyState !== "loading"){
  } else {
    document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', fn);

Array methods


var people = [{
	name: 'Jen',
	age: 32
}, {
	name: 'Keith',
	age: 48
}, {
	name: 'Sarah',
	age: 22


Find the first item in the array that returns true

// First person whose name starts with a 'K'
var a = people.find(function(person) {
    if ('K') === 0) {
        return true
    } else {
        return false

// This can be refactored down
var a = people.find(function(person) {
    if ('K') === 0) {
        return true

// And some more
var a = people.find(function(person) {
    return'K') === 0)

// In ES2015, we can get even shorter
var a = people.find(person =>'K') === 0)


Same as find, but it returns the index that matches

var b = people.findIndex(function(person) {
    return person.age === 22
console.log(people[b]) // { name: 'Sarah', age: 22 }


Create a new array with items that return true

var c = people.filter(function(person) {
    return person.age > 25
console.log(c) // [{ name: 'Jen', age: 32 }, { name: 'Keith', age: 48 }]


Create a new array with a subset of the original array (made from what you return)

var d = {
    return person.age
console.log(d) // [32, 48, 22]


Accumulate through an array. The first argument is the reducer function. The second argument is the starting value (in this case: 0). In the reducer function, there are two arguments, the current value of the accumalation, and the current item in the array. You return the new value of the accumalation.

var e = people.reduce(function(current, person) {
    return current + person.age
}, 0)
console.log(e) // 102


In the sorting function, you’re provided items a and b. If a is less than b, you return -1, if a is greater than b, you return 1, and if they are equal, you return 0. A shorthand can be used:

var f = people.sort(function(a, b) {
    return a.age - b.age
}, 0)
// Items in order of Sarah, Jen, Keith

Remember with sorting, it’s default is to compare strings, not numbers. The default behavior of ‘sort’ on a single-dimensional array will gets multiples above 10 in the ‘wrong’ order. // [1, 10, 3, 35]

Also, don’t view this a traditional loop, for longer arrays, it will run items through multiple times.

Task: wrangle some data.

Take this FIFA World Cup data and perform the following operations:

  1. Return the item that corresponds to France’s first win
  2. Return the array index of the 1970 World Cup final
  3. Return a new array of winner team names
  4. Count up the total number of goals
  5. Return all items where the host has won the World Cup
  6. Sort the items based on the total goals scored
  7. (Stretch goal) Return a new array of teams and their total number of wins, in descending order

Posted on in Training