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Up Front

Hardware Hacking and JavaScript Alternatives

by Michael Swaine

Generic image illustrating the article
  We’re looking at CoffeeScript and ClojureScript in this issue, as well as breaking out the wire cutters to build a video game machine.  

This issue includes articles on both CoffeeScript and ClojureScript, two new languages that allow you to write JavaScript without having to write JavaScript, if you follow me.

CoffeeScript was immediately embraced by the great majority of developers who looked at it, while ClojureScript is being viewed more skeptically. I think this is at least in part because of confusion about what ClojureScript is for. It’s really not trying to do what CoffeeScript is trying to do. (The starting point for any evaluation of ClojureScript is the official rationale.)

The articles are written by Trevor Burnham, who wrote the book on CoffeeScript, and Aaron Bedra, who is cowriting Programming Clojure, Second Edition, which will include coverage of ClojureScript. We hope this issue will encourage people on the fence about one or the other of these tools to explore both and see what problem each is intended to solve. You might decide that both have a place in your toolkit.

You may have another kind of toolkit, one with a soldering iron and wire cutters. Hardware hacking is enjoying a renaissance thanks to the popular Arduino single-board computers. This month our Arduino guru Maik Schmidt, author of Arduino: A Quick-Start Guide, returns with another Arduino project, this time showing you how to build your own video game machine for rediscovering the innocent fun of classic games like Asteroids and Breakout.

Tim Ottinger and Jeff Langr are back with some agile advice on making your code virtuous. In doing so, they shuffle their Agile in a Flash cards and draw out card #42, which you have to figure has the answer to everything.

In fact, all of our writers this month are familar to these pages. Dan Wohlbruck is back with another history article, both Brian Tarbox and Andy Hunt get insights into programming from theater, and John Shade wants to talk to your mother.

Enjoy the issue and be sure to read all the way through to the end to see what’s in the pipeline for next month. Oh, and for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, we hope the cover images makes you feel cool.