JavaScript API and its Design Principles

JavaScript API and its Design Principles

Presented at DevNexus 2014 in Atlanta, GA.

In this day and age it is pretty common to design a large-scale web
application as a collection of modular and reusable components. These
components need to have a reasonable set of APIs (application
programming interfaces) which deliver against the stipulated
engineering criteria. In addition this API set needs to retain ease of
use. The success of a module is thus reflected in the way it is being
used in other modules. This talk is intended to initiate the
discussion on finding the principles for designing a good JavaScript
API by observing the interactions between modules, particularly on the
influence of an interface on the code patterns. Some good and bad
examples found in real-world libraries will be shown, along with a
collection of language tools designed to detect and analyze those
patterns.

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Ariya Hidayat

February 25, 2014
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Transcript

  1. JavaScript API Design Principles @ariyahidayat Feb 25, 2014 Atlanta, GA

  2. /usr/bin/whoami PhantomJS shapesecurity.com Esprima

  3. treeItem.setState(true, false);

  4. “How to Design a Good API and Why It Matters”

    Joshua Bloch “Qt API Design Principles” http://qt-project.org/wiki/API-Design-Principles Matthias Ettrich, Jasmin Blanchette
  5. https://twitter.com/AriyaHidayat/status/429111596627918848

  6. Modular Application Architecture Module A Module B interface

  7. WHY? Nobody reads API documentation Code is written once, read

    many times
  8. Readable, consistent, crystal clear Thank you, Captain Obvious!

  9. Using static polymorphism to ensure consistency Preventing dangerous convenience such

    as Boolean trap Avoiding unreadable code due to confusing semantics
  10. Static Polymorphism

  11. X1.value = 'Rare'; X2.value = 'Medium'; X3.value = 'Well done';

    Y.option = 'Fries'; Z.caption = 'Order'; X1.value = 'Rare'; X2.value = 'Medium'; X3.value = 'Well done'; Y.value = 'Fries'; Z.value = 'Order'; Progress Bar vs Slider
  12. point.translate(14, -3) rect.translateBy(26, 4) point.translate(14, -3) rect.translate(26, 4)

  13. corner = new Point(10, 10); dim = new Size(70, 50);

    R = new Rect(corner, dim); Q = new Rect(10, 10, 80, 60); corner = new Point(10, 10); dim = new Size(70, 50); R = new Rect(corner, dim); Q = new Rect(10, 10, 70, 50); corner dimension x1, y1, x2, y2 x, y, w, h
  14. var x = NaN; isNaN(x) true x === NaN false

    https://twitter.com/AriyaHidayat/status/393034774245171200
  15. Convenience & Traps

  16. Romeo and Juliet: Act II. Scene II What’s in a

    name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet...
  17. Can We Have Some Vowels, Please? BrCtl → WebView

  18. DOM Event event.initKeyEvent("keypress", true, true, null, null, false, false, false,

    false, 9, 0);
  19. Boolean Trap // Horizontal s1 = new Slider(true); // Vertical

    s2 = new Slider(false); s1 = new Slider({ orientation: 'horizontal' }); s2 = new Slider({ orientation: 'vertical' });
  20. Boolean Modifier Trap // Animate the resize w.resize(250, 150, true);

    // Do not animate the resize w.resize(250, 150, false); w.resize(250, 150, { animate: true });
  21. Ping-pong, Anyone? // Expand + animate treeItem.setState(true, true); // Expand

    + don't animate treeItem.setState(true, false); // Collapse + animate treeItem.setState(false, true);
  22. Ping-pong, Anyone? // Expand + animate treeItem.setState(true, true); // Expand

    + don't animate treeItem.setState(true, false); // Collapse + animate treeItem.setState(false, true);
  23. https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/367485612627984385

  24. Ambiguity Begets Insanity

  25. Double Negatives X.disabled = false; Y.setHidden(true); filter.caseInsensitive = true; X.enabled

    = true; Y.setVisible(false); filter.caseSensitive = false;
  26. cube.translucency = 0.2; 20% translucent cube.opacity = 0.8; 80% opaque

  27. Nonverbal Actions status.message("Ready"); page.forward(); page.backward(); status.showMessage("Ready"); page.goForward(); page.goBackward();

  28. picker.yearFrom = 1980; picker.yearTo = 2020; picker.minimumYear = 1980; picker.maximumYear

    = 2020;
  29. this.callMe = "Adam"; flight.from = SFO; flight.to = JFK; this.name

    = "Adam"; flight.departure = SFO; flight.destination = JFK;
  30. String Extraction 'devnexus2014'.substr(3, 9) "nexus2014" 'devnexus2014'.substr(9, 3) "014" 'devnexus2014'.substring(3, 9)

    "nexus2" 'devnexus2014'.substring(9, 3) "nexus2" 'devnexus2014'.slice(3, 9) "nexus2" 'devnexus2014'.slice(9, 3) "" http://ariya.ofilabs.com/2014/02/javascript-string-substring-substr-slice.html
  31. Array Extraction var a = [14, 3, 77] var b

    = a.slice(1, 2) a [14, 3, 77] b [3] var a = [14, 3, 77] var b = a.splice(1, 2) a [14] b [3, 77] Immutable vs Mutable http://ariya.ofilabs.com/2014/02/javascript-array-slice-vs-splice.html
  32. Verb = Action var p = new Point(14, 3); p.translate(4,

    4); Does this change my string or return a fresh new string? var s = ' devnexus '; s.trim();
  33. Explicit (Im)mutability var p = new Point(14, 3); p.translate(4, 4);

    p.translated(4, 4); var s = ' devnexus '; s.trim(); s.trimmed(); p does not change Returns a translated version of p
  34. API Detective

  35. Syntax Parser var answer = 42 keyword equal sign identifier

    number Variable Declaration Identifier Literal Constant Tokenization → Tokens Parsing → Syntax Tree
  36. { type: "Program", body: [ { type: "VariableDeclaration", declarations: [

    { type: "VariableDeclarator", id: { type: "Identifier", name: "answer" }, init: { type: "Literal", value: 42, raw: "42" } } ], kind: "var" } ] } Syntax Tree var answer = 42; Terms → ECMAScript 5.1 Specification https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/SpiderMonkey/Parser_API
  37. Syntax Visualization http://esprima.org/demo/parse.html

  38. Module Structure MyApp.create('MyApp.Person', { name: 'Joe Sixpack', age: 42, constructor:

    function(name) {}, walk: function(steps) {} run: function(steps) {} }); { objectName: 'MyApp.Person', functions: ['walk', 'run'], properties: ['name', 'age'] } Metadata Meta-object
  39. Collecting Member Expression foo.bar syntax = esprima.parse(code); traverse(syntax, function (node)

    { if (node.type === 'MemberExpression') { if (node.property) { console.log(node.property.name); } } });
  40. Detecting Boolean Traps reload(x, y, false) function checkLastArgument(node) { var

    args = node['arguments']; if (args.length < 2) { return; } if (typeof args[args.length - 1].value === 'boolean') { report(node, 'Dangerous Boolean literal'); } }
  41. Blacklisting Function Names setDisabled(false) This block is left intentionally blank.

    Exercise for the brave reader!
  42. What About API Usage? “You call this immutable function but

    you never assign its return value.” “You check the return value of this function 2000 times. Why don’t you do it this time (line = ….)?”
  43. Best Practices

  44. #1: Private by Default Public = Irreversible

  45. SHStripMneumonic “Why is the function SHStripMneumonic misspelled?” Raymond Chen, Microsoft

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2008/05/19/8518565.aspx
  46. None
  47. “Write 3 examples which use the API” #2: Public by

    Justification
  48. None
  49. #3: Mandatory API Review

  50. -- yours truly “You’d fail your first two attempts anyway.”

  51. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” — Darth Vader

  52. #4: API Tools Tools separate us

  53. T D D B D D P D D

  54. Final Words Practice the rituals: • Apply static polymorphism •

    Judge every convenient shortcut • Read aloud (and often) Implement + tweak API tools
  55. Thank You @ariyahidayat ariya.ofilabs.com/highlights speakerdeck.com/ariya Some artworks are from http://openclipart.org.