A relatively new and small language named as CoffeeScript is used in place of the large JavaScript programming language. The language is inspired by languages like Python and Ruby where increasing readability was the intention of the core developers. It finally transcompilers into JavaScript. It has many other features, and new features are getting added since its inception in the year 2011. We are going to see some key features in this article which can help developers to decide on whether they can learn the new language and take advantage of the base language as well. Consider it as a great asset for freelance web developers.

Coding in CoffeeScript:

The most interest feature about this language is it considers each line of code as an expression and returns a value without a return statement. You will also notice that unnecessary parentheses and braces are omitted in this syntax. If the blocks of code can be marked by simple indentation instead of braces, the syntax accepts it. The function calls are implicit, and object literals are detected automatically. JavaScript is well-known and very stable and criticism on JavaScript because of the development of this language is unnecessary as finally, the code which you will use is JavaScript.

Code Compilation & Installation:

The compiler for this CoffeeScript language is written in the same language, and it is available as a Node.js utility. You can run the core compiler in any JavaScript environment. An alternative to the Node.js utility is available, and it is available with name ‘Coffee Maven Plugin’.

An exciting thing on the official site at CoffeeScript.org allows you to get a quick output. You can try CoffeeScript by entering your script in the dialog window and get the JavaScript output. If you need a bi-directional translation, you can refer to the js2coffee website.

To install the utility, download the latest version of Node.js and install the CoffeeScript globally with npm. The npm is a package manager for JavaScript which can be used to find, share, and reuse packages of code from thousands of developers. It is easy to manage dependencies by using npm. It is good information for developers performing freelance work.

Objects and Arrays:

The CoffeeScript objects and arrays look very similar to their JavaScript counterpart. When each property is listed on its line, the commas are optional. Objects may be created using indentation instead of explicit braces. There are several different ways to initialize and declare arrays in CoffeeScript. You can see that the good part of JavaScript is maintained as it is and there are efforts to overcome the shortcomings from developer view.

The Conditional Assignments & Loops

Similar to another code, the conditional statements can also be written without the use of parentheses and curly brackets. For functions and other block expressions where you have to write multiple lines of code, you can use proper indentation. The script compiler can compile if statements into JavaScript expressions, using the ternary operator or closure wrapping.

Here, the loops will be comprehensions over arrays, objects, and ranges. The comprehensions replace for loops, with optional guard clauses and the value of array index. The array comprehensions are expressions and can be returned and assigned.

Check existence of a variable

In JavaScript, it is difficult to check the existence of a variable and CoffeeScript follows the footsteps of Ruby in using the ‘?’ variable to get a return value of ‘true’ for all variables except null or undefined.

De-structure & Inheritance:

The CoffeeScript has destructuring assignment syntax, and you can assign an array or object literal to a value. It breaks up and matches both sides against each other, assigning the values on the right to the variables on the left.

JavaScript’s built-in inheritance would be completely usable if it weren’t for a couple of small exceptions like call super and it’s difficult to set the prototype chain. You can declare the classes easily within CoffeeScript which is a refreshing contrast to the JavaScript. You can write the keyword class followed by a class name.

/you can write the constructor methods by writing method name followed by a colon. You have to leave a white space after each method name and can use the function operator also. The Splat is an easy way to accept multiple values as arguments to methods.

Functions:

The fat arrow (with equal to sign followed by a greater than sign) can be used to define a function as well as bind it to the current value it. This feature is useful while using the callback libraries. Functions created with the fat arrow can access properties of the function. The latest version is 1.12.4 and CoffeeScript 2 is coming with support to ES2015 classes.

Source Maps:

CoffeeScript, last couple of releases, include support for generating source maps. It is a way to tell JavaScript to match the correct part of your code with the code being evaluated. The supporting Browsers will use the source maps to show your original code in the debugger.

Advantages over JavaScript:

  • Easy function definitions
  • Syntax is simple to understand
  • The Class definitions are easy
  • Included in Ruby on Rails
  • Quick and easy to test
  • Fast compilation to JavaScript
  • Clear mapping with the Source code
  • Can be considered as easier JavaScript
  • You can get rid of unnecessary elements
  • Significant white space in the coding
  • Retains the Object-Oriented Features

Summary:

The CoffeeScript language is a short version of JavaScript. You are expected to know JavaScript well as you are using something which will gain provide you a JavaScript code. If there are any defects in the code, you should be able to fix them directly in the JavaScript. Having such small skills added to the freelance jobs, where the client needs someone with specific skills, and there is no learning time. This language is making the syntax easy for you and helps in improving the readability and productivity of the developer. It is a good and nice language to learn if you are an advanced JavaScript user. The support of arrow functions also makes your life easy.

 

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