A beginner’s guide to ASTs

Kent C. Dodds (13.Jul.2017 at 15:00, 50 min)
Talk at OpenWest Conference 2017 (English - US)

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Think of the last time few times you found a bug in your JavaScript. Could you have prevented any of these with a specially tuned custom ESLint rule? Chances are you could have for some of them. Now think of the last time you had to make a trade-off between user experience and developer experience. Should you make it easier to develop this feature, or make the code run faster? Often, you can have both with a custom BabelJS plugin. Learning about Abstract Syntax Trees enables you to do extend tools like ESLint and BabelJS to improve your developer experience without sacrificing on user experience.

If you’re intimidated, confused, or curious by the term “Abstract Syntax Tree” then this talk is for you. In this talk, you’ll learn the basics of parsers and the AST that they produce. You’ll also be exposed to practical applications of this knowledge by working through a custom ESLint rule and BabelJS plugin.

I hope you’re not afraid of code and graphs. There will be plenty in this talk. Abstract Syntax Trees are… well… Abstract. We’ll use graphs to visualize the tree and code to see the practical application. [361]

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