Haxe: working with JavaScript libraries

Let’s say you’re interested in using Haxe for JavaScript development, but you are wondering how you are going to use the libraries you are used to.

Clearly this will be a little bit more complicated than when using languages like TypeScript, ES6/Traceur or CoffeeScript which essentially allow you to include any regular JavaScript without the compiler complaining.

Haxe is a different beast: you can’t just drop JavaScript code and expect it to be accepted. Let’s see the different strategies to use external JavaScript from Haxe.

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Vanilla Haxe JS

I’ve seen it all in JavaScript, from Netscape 4’s years of pain, to jQuery to abstract browser differences, and finally to Vanilla JS and node.js – we now live in a world where coding in JavaScript is relatively sane and consistent.

Except we still have to use JavaScript. Not that I don’t like JavaScript – I’m quite found of the language and have sympathy for its quirks, but it’s just missing something to be productive once your code becomes more that half a dozen of classes.

Here comes the Haxe language and it’s almighty type inference!

haxe-inference 
Enjoy smart Haxe completion in many popular editors

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Adventures in Dart land

The Dart language was unveiled by Google less than 2 years ago as a new “language for the web”, and, like most people, I didn’t give a f… much attention as it was in its early stages and I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was trying to solve, and for whom.

After coding Dart during several weeks (on this cool project) I can pretend to be familiar enough with the language and tools to tell you a bit about it. You’ll be surprised, for Dart isn’t what you think it is.

Did I like it? Yes, I genuinely enjoyed working with Dart.

Should you learn it? Give it a look – you might like it, and learning new languages make you a better coder anyway.

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Titanium: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I’ve been following Appcelerator Titanium Mobile with a keen interest since they decided, for mobile, to move from HTML to native UIs. I just love this idea: use the platform’s native UI controls from Javascript. I did have a fairly good experience doing a little test app with Titanium Mobile 1.5 and noted for myself to use it for real when I’ll have a project.

More recently Appcelerator bought Aptana, the arguably most advanced Eclipse plugin for Javascript (and HTML) development, and renamed it TitaniumStudio. Honestly I dislike Eclipse very much but I thought it was a great move to gain the professional developers’ hearts.

Since I had a new occasion to do a mobile app I thought I was time to get up to date by giving Titanium 1.8 another run.

This was a “mixed” experience, but my conclusion is quite positive!

Updated 27/02/12 (see end of the article)

Warning: MacOS stuff ahead 😉

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