MJS 088: Nicholas Zakas

MJS 088: Nicholas Zakas

December 05, 2018

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Show Notes

Guest: Nicholas Zakas
This week on My JavaScript Story, Charles talks with Nicholas Zakas who is a blogger, author, and software engineer. Nicholas’ website is titled, Human Who Codes – check it out! You can find him on Twitter, GitHub, and LinkedIn among other social media platforms. Today, Nicholas and Chuck talk about Nicholas’ background, JavaScript, and current projects.
In particular, we dive pretty deep on:
1:00 – Chuck: Welcome! Give us a background, please, Nicholas!
1:14 – Guest: I am probably best known for making ESLint and I have written a bunch of books, too! (See links below.)
1:36 – Chuck: JSJ 336 and JSJ 075 episodes are the two past episodes we’ve had you on! (See links below.) Let’s go back and how did you get into programming?
1:58 – Guest: I think the first was written in BASIC, which was on a Laser computer. It was a cheaper knockoff version. I think I was into middle school when I got into BASIC. Then when I got into high school I did this computer project, which was the first time someone else used one of my programs.
4:02 – Chuck: Was it all in BASIC or something else?
4:13 – Guest: Just BASIC, but then transferred to something else when we got our first PC.
5:13 – Chuck: How did you get to use JavaScript?
5:18 – Guest: 1996 was my freshman year in college. Netscape 3 got into popularity around this time. I had decided that I wanted to setup a webpage to stay in-touch with high school friends who were going into different directions.
I got annoyed with how static the [web] pages were. At the time, there was no CSS and the only thing you could change was the source of an image (on webpages).
On the <a tag> you could do...
8:35 – Chuck: You get into JavaScript and at what point did you become a prolific operator and author?
8:52 – Guest: It was not an overnight thing. It definitely was fueled by my own curiosity. The web was so new (when I was in college) that I had to explore on my own. I probably killed a few trees when I was in college. Printing off anything and everything I could to learn about this stuff!
10:03 – Guest (continues): Professors would ask ME how to do this or that on the departmental website. When I was graduating from college I knew that I was excited about the WEB. I got a first job w/o having to interview.
12:32 – Guest (continues): I got so deep into JavaScript!
13:30 – Guest (continued): They couldn’t figure out what I had done. That’s when I got more into designing JavaScript APIs. About 8 months after graduating from college I was unemployed. I had extra time on my hands. I was worried that I was going to forget the cool stuff that I just developed there. I went over the code and writing for myself how I had constructed it. My goal was to have an expandable tree. This is the design process that I went through. This is the API that I came up with so you can insert and how I went about implementing it. At some point, I was on a discussion with my former colleagues: remember that JavaScript tree thing I wrote – I wrote a description of how I did it. Someone said: Hey this is really good and you should get this published somewhere. Huh! I guess I could do that. I went to websites who were publishing articles on JavaScript. I went to submit the article to one of them. I think it was DevX or WebReference.
18:03 – Guest: A book is a compilation of different articles?! I can do that. I wanted to write a book that would fill in that next step that was missing. I didn’t know what the book was going to be, and I decided to start writing. Once I’ve had enough content I would take a step back and see what it was about. (Check out Nicholas’ books here!)
19:01 – Chuck: Oh you can turn this into a book!
19:10 – Guest: There was very little that I had planned out ahead of time. Anything that happened to me that was exciting had stumbled into my lap!
19:37 – Chuck: That’s how I felt about podcasting – it fell into my lap/life!
19:50 – Chuck: Listeners – check out the past episodes with Nicholas, please. Nicholas, what are you proud of?
20:10 – Guest: In 2006, I was at Yahoo and started off with My Yahoo Team. This was the first time that I was exposed to a massive amount of JavaScript in a single web application.
26:21 – Chuck: Can you talk about your health issues? People would definitely benefit from your example and your story.
26:44 – Guest: I think it is something important for people to understand.
The guest talks about Lyme Disease. 
35:49 – Chuck: Yep taking care of yourself is important!
36:00 – Guest: Yes to enjoy time with friends and explore other hobbies. Help yourself to de-stress is important. Cognitive work is very draining. When you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep your body is going to get stressed out. Take the time to do nonsense things. You need to let your brain unwind! I love these adult coloring books that they have!
38:07 – Chuck: I love to take a drive up the canyon.
38:12 – Guest.
38:24 – Chuck: Yeah to focus on ourselves is important.
38:36 – Guest: Your body will make it a point to say: pay attention to me! Your body goes into flight or fight mode and your systems shut-off, which of course is not good. You don’t want your body to stay in that state.
New parents get sick frequently with newborns, because they aren’t getting enough sleep.
41:08 – Guest: Get some R&R!
41:20 – Chuck: This is great, but I have another call! Let’s do some Picks!
END – Cache Fly
Charles Max Wood
  • Wall Calendars – 6 ft. x3 ft.
Nicholas Zakas