Juri Strumpflohner


Interview with DZone

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Juri Strumpflohner
DZone, where I'm part as an MVB, recently contacted me for an interview for their weekly newsletter edition. Yesterday it got published. If you're interested in their newsletter, the best way is to follow DZone on their Facebook page. Here's the interview in its full length.

Hi Juri! Thanks for talking to us. What have you been working on lately?

I’ve been working on creating a new base architecture for our e-government web applications. Our main focus is on creating compelling web applications for the citizens and as such we wanted to take out the most of the web. About a year ago we therefore decided to start creating single page applications in JavaScript instead of just classic server-side web applications such as ASP.net WebForms. As a consequence I recently dig into the jungle of JavaScript MVC frameworks and started coaching our web devs to create JavaScript rich client apps using those frameworks. In specific we adopted Bitovi’s JavaScriptMVC framework which is a very nice one, especially for JavaScript beginners. It is based on top of jQuery and provides already a full stack setup, from code generators, a package manager, test automation to code linter and builder. That’s what it makes it a smaller entry barrier for newbies which don’t want to bother with AMD, RequireJS, JS linters, builders etc. Unfortunately it isn’t as popular as Backbone or Angular, but its recent developments with CanJS make some hope in that direction as well. Most recently I was also a technical reviewer of a book about web application development with JavaScriptMVC which will be published soon.

What has most excited you in the world of HTML5 and JavaScript recently?

There were many exciting developments that happened last year. When talking about HTML5 one is for sure that the HTML5 definition has been finally completed and is now ready for review. Other than that I think that every single project that emerges in the field of HTML5 and JavaScript development is a small exciting moment. Those projects make the entire scene richer and more valuable. One that has to be mentioned is for sure TodoMVC which is the only point of orientation in this jungle of MVC frameworks in the JavaScript world, a well curated and hugely educative project.

Since I’m working mainly in a world dominated by Microsoft technologies, I also really welcomed Microsoft’s investment into JavaScript as a first-class language for Win8 development. I’m not yet sure how much success it will have, but it has a positive side-effect for our web devs as Microsoft will invest into the language which ultimately results in better dev tools (which partially has become true already with VS2012) and language enhancements and tools like TypeScript. Proper development tools are a factor of major importance and the lack of such tools is the first point I often heard criticising by “classic” web devs. But that’s not entirely true. I’ve been using the Chrome dev tools now for over a year intensively and it is amazing how fast they evolved. With proper extensions you have even two-way synchronization of source code changes and live browser reloading. Such evolutions, together with great tools like Sublime or Brackets are another exciting development for me.

What does the next year hold for web apps?

2012 was definitely the year when JavaScript as a web programming language started to really emerge, with all the libraries and MVC frameworks that came out. A quick look at GitHub’s language stats explains it all. Still, many web devs look with some skepticism at this evolution, probably because they first got in touch with JavaScript under different circumstances. In high school, JavaScript was taught as a scripting language for adding dynamic behavior to a static HTML page, not as a fully capable programming language. I think that 2013 has the potential to let JavaScript loose this kind of negative connotation and push itself further from just being a temporary hype to being the way modern web applications should be developed. Major improvements in development tools will help. Before-mentioned evolutions in the Chrome-integrated devtools and projects like Brackets look very promising and will make the life of web devs a lot easier. Beside the evolution of JavaScript “Harmony” this year, I’m also particularly excited about how the mobile web will evolve, especially hybrid mobile applications. PhoneGap or Apache Cordova started with ambitious goals in 2012 and I’m curious how its story continues.

Do you have a favorite blogger?

Actually I do follow a lot of bloggers that cover quite a wide range of different topics. I can hardly tell a favorite one, it really depends what I’m currently interested in. At the moment, for instance, I do really appreciate the work done by Addy Osmani. It is just amazing, starting from his presentations and videos, his GitHub projects like TodoMVC and now Yeoman, to his open source books about Backbone Fundamentals or JavaScript Design Patterns. He does an amazing job in the field of evangelizing web technologies, obviously with the help from other amazing people like Paul Irish or Sindre Sorhus. Beside those, there’s also Alex Young’s DailyJS of course and Peter Cooper’s weekly newsletters like HTML5 Weekly or JavaScript Weekly, all of them an absolute must for every serious JavaScript dev and web dev.

You practice Yoseikan Budo — could you tell us a little bit about how you got started? Does it trickle into other aspects of your life?

Sure, I started to practice Yoseikan about 13 years ago. Actually already as a child I always admired martial arts practitioners and started to imitate and study their techniques. Only about when I was 14 years old I had the chance to then practice it by myself and that was when I discovered Yoseikan Budo. I immediately loved it, mainly because of its variety of concepts and the way it is being taught. You receive a complete training in martial arts, very much like the old Samurai, techniques which emerge from Sumo, Judo or Aikido to Karate and Kendo. It never really gets boring, but instead you have the possibility to continuously discover and learn new things. And yes, it definitely trickles into other aspects of my life. I can just confirm what many say: it helps to keep your balance. For me its combination of physical activity and the concentration needed for executing certain techniques, is the absolute best way to mentally relax from my day to day work in front of the computer.

Thanks, Juri!