About Nicholas C. Zakas

Recent Posts

The “thank you” that changed my life

There’s so much rampant negativity in the world and on the Internet that it can be hard to deal with some days. It seems like more and more, I’m seeing people being mean and succeeding, and that makes me sad. Perhaps the biggest poster child for this was Steve Jobs, who by all accounts was... […]

Book review: Think Like a Programmer

I was excited to get a copy of Think Like a Programmer for review. The subtitle is, “an introduction to creative problem solving,” which is something that I think is very important to being a good software engineer. I’ve talked a lot to younger engineers about thinking critically to solve problems and not just relying... […]

Does JavaScript need classes?

Like it or not, ECMAScript 6 is going to have classes1. The concept of classes in JavaScript has always been polarizing. There are some who love the classless nature of JavaScript specifically because it is different than other languages. On the other hand, there are those who hate the classless nature of JavaScript because it’s... […]

ECMAScript 6 collections, Part 2: Maps

Maps1, like sets, are also a familiar topic for those coming from other languages. The basic idea is to map a value to a unique key in such a way that you can retrieve that value at any point in time by using the key. In JavaScript, developers have traditionally used regular objects as maps.... […]

Thoughts on TypeScript

Earlier this week, Microsoft released TypeScript1, a new compile-to-JavaScript language for “application scale JavaScript.” My initial reaction was confusion: Um, why? blogs.msdn.com/b/somasegar/ar… (via @izs) — Nicholas C. Zakas (@slicknet) October 1, 2012 It seems like almost every week there’s a new language that’s trying to replace JavaScript on the web. Google received a lukewarm reception... […]

Computer science in JavaScript: Merge sort

Merge sort is arguably the first useful sorting algorithm you learn in computer science. Merge sort has a complexity of O(n log n), making it one of the more efficient sorting algorithms available. Additionally, merge sort is a stable sort (just like insertion sort) so that the relative order of equivalent items remains the same... […]

ECMAScript 6 collections, Part 1: Sets

For most of JavaScript’s history, there has been only one type of collection represented by the Array type. Arrays are used in JavaScript just like arrays and other languages but pull double and triple duty mimicking queues and stacks as well. Since arrays only use numeric indices, developers had to use objects whenever a non-numeric... […]

Computer science in JavaScript: Insertion sort

Insertion sort is typically the third sorting algorithm taught in computer science programs, after bubble sort1 and selection sort2. Insertion sort has a best-case complexity of O(n), which is less complex than bubble and selection sort at O(n2). This is also the first stable sort algorithm taught. Stable sort algorithms are sorts that don’t change... […]

Replacing Apache with nginx on Elastic Beanstalk

WellFurnished has been using Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk1 service for some time now with one of the default configurations. For those who are unaware, Elastic Beanstalk is Amazon’s answer to services like Heroku and Google App Engine. You set up an application and one or more environments made up of a load balancer and any number... […]

CSS Lint v0.9.9 now available

CSS Lint v0.9.9 is now available both on the command line and at the web site. This release is mostly a maintenance release with a few small features added in. This lays the groundwork for an eventual 1.0.0 release, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of a 0.9.10 release before then. There’s still a lot... […]