Here’s something useful for any young person in your life. (Or something useful for yourself, if you’ve ever said “Explain it to me like I’m 10.”)

I’ve just released A Tiny Introduction to JavaScript, a free PDF ebook that teaches kids how to code.

Here’s what makes this book unique:

  • It’s 100% free. (Or pay-what-you-can, if you’re in a particularly generous mood.)
  • It teaches real JavaScript code. There’s no walking zombies through a maze or edu-tainment here.
  • Each chapter is built out of tiny examples. And all the examples are in online CodePen projects. That means you don’t need to…


The new Remote Repositories extension makes it even easier to work with GitHub projects in Visual Studio

You know the drill. First you clone the repository. Then, when it’s safely on your system, you can explore it and make changes. When you’re done, you stage, commit, and push. If you’re in VS Code, there’s built-in tooling for doing all of this without typing a single Git command into the terminal.

But now there’s another — and dare I say better — way. Microsoft has just released their Remote Repositories extension, which lets you jump right into a repository on GitHub with no extra steps, no need to periodically pull new changes, and no bolted-on editor-in-a-browser experience.

Here’s…


Global using, file-scoped namespaces, and other enhancements will slim down unnecessary code

We’ve been speculating about the future of C# 10 for a while. The possibilities are no secret. Spend some time on the C# GitHub page and you’ll find a long list of tantalizing ideas — some with major headaches still being hashed out. Many of them won’t make it into the next version of C#, and some of them won’t appear in the language ever. …


The Windows Package Manager will be an essential developer tool — eventually

Putting winget to use in the new Windows Terminal

A few months ago, when I wanted to take a look at Microsoft’s sleek new Windows Terminal, I went to a place I haven’t been in a long time — the Windows Store.

If you’re like me (or most developers I know) you also do your best to avoid this ancient corner of the Windows universe. It’s plagued by desktop-skinned web apps and media content, but devoid of the grown-up software you really need (Steam, Discord, Zoom, Visual Studio Code). …


Google Docs leads the way to an app-focused future

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing recently about Google’s decision to use the HTML <canvas> for all of its rendering in Google Docs. And the concern is understandable. Once upon a time the web was supposed to be system for sharing carefully structured information, full of sensible metadata and collaboration. Instead, we turned it into an semi-opaque app delivery model running in a browser sandbox.

Google’s decision — to switch from writing HTML elements on a page to painting pixels on a canvas — isn’t anything developers haven’t seen before. Other leading-edge web apps already reach far beyond the traditional…


After helping a friend recover from an exploit, I’ve changed my security thinking

Recently, a reasonably tech-savvy friend was hit by a nasty email hack. The exploit wasn’t particularly unusual, but I still learned a few things digging out of the mess — and you can bet I tightened up my own security settings afterwards.

(Quick side note: If this has happened to you, and you’ve landed on this article shortly after your account has been trashed, you may still be able to save the day if you act quickly. Jump ahead to learn how to do a mailbox export, and cross your fingers.)

Anatomy of an email hack

Shortly before midnight local time, this happened:


Microsoft loves Linux, but won’t make the investment for desktop apps

It’s tempting to see the history of Microsoft and the open-source Linux operating system as the story of two sworn enemies cautiously making peace. Microsoft — the company that once called Linux a cancer run by communists — has spent the better part of the last decade boosting the open-source ecosystem. They’ve welcomed Linux into programming tools like VS Code, cloud environments like Azure, and server products like SQL Server. …


Two reasons that it is, and one reason that it isn’t

Love it or hate it, Visual Basic was an iconic programming language that changed the idea of who can write code. I say was, because even though Visual Basic is still alive, it’s slid into a sad twilight period of minimal innovation and gradual irrelevance. And while Microsoft is investing in several thriving languages (C#, TypeScript, and F# come to mind), it no longer seems interested in pursuing Bill Gates’ old dream of a programming language for non-specialists.

Back when VB was thriving, it was often singled out as a good starting place for beginners. Today, if you ask what…


Don’t let lazy evaluation trip up your JavaScript logging code

Made with Icons8

Let’s start with something straightforward. Here’s a JavaScript snippet that creates a small array of numbers, then changes it. The array is logged to the console, both before and after the change:

const numbers = [2, 3, 4, 5];
console.log(numbers);
// Square the numbers
for (let i = 0; i<numbers.length; i++) {
numbers[i] = numbers[i]**2;
}
console.log(numbers);

A more careful approach would use Array.map() to process the array instead of a for...of loop. (That way your changes would be applied, non-destructively, to a new array.) But there’s a reason I’ve chosen this approach. …


How Project Reunion, WinUI, and .NET MAUI fit together

Microsoft’s erratic product naming strategy is legendary. My favorite example is Microsoft account, with its hodgepodge of company brands. (It was Microsoft Passport, then .NET Passport, then Microsoft Passport Network, then Windows Live ID. I may have missed a few.)

I’d like to say that — somewhere on the way to reinventing itself with a collection of cross-platform, open-source developer products — Microsoft changed its ways. But that would be wishful thinking. And nowhere is the problem clearer than in the world of Windows apps, where .NET 6 is poised to add even more buzzwords to an already crowded field…

Matthew MacDonald

Teacher, coder, long-ago Microsoft MVP. Author of heavy books. Join Young Coder for a creative take on science and technology. Queries: matthew@prosetech.com

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