5 cool JS tricks to impress your teammates

September 25, 2020


Illustration by loornicolas

1. Update your NPM modules with one command

One common source of confusion for new Node.js developers is the command npm update. It will update all node_modules present in package.json to their latest versions but it will not change the version names in package.json.

So PROBLEM: when another developer clones your repo and runs npm install, they will get an older version from the node_modules than you.

I found an automatic solution for this: the package npm-check-updates. Let’s see how it works:

npx npm-check-updates

The output of this command will show which packages have a newer available version.

But the real fun is in calling it with the flag -u, which will actually update your package.json with the latest versions. Then just run npm install and all your node_modules will be updated.

And, as the package.json has been updated, every other developer that runs npm install will get the same updated versions. Success!

2. Specify a React.js Component as PropType

With component composition, this can be a common pattern (modified from the React.js docs):

// Create a layout component, that render children on slots.
const SplitPane = ({ leftComponent, rightComponent }) => (
  <div className="SplitPane">
    <div className="SplitPane-left">{leftComponent}</div>
    <div className="SplitPane-right">{rightComponent}</div>

const App = () => <SplitPane left={<Contacts />} right={<Chat />} />

But how can you specify a component or a rendered value as a PropType?From the PropTypes docs:

  // Anything that can be rendered: numbers, strings, elements or an array
  // (or fragment) containing these types.
  optionalNode: PropTypes.node,

  // A React element (ie. <MyComponent />).
  optionalElement: PropTypes.element,

So we could modify SplitPane like:

const SplitPane = ({ leftComponent, rightComponent }) => (
  <div className="SplitPane">
    <div className="SplitPane-left">{leftComponent}</div>
    <div className="SplitPane-right">{rightComponent}</div>

SplitPane.propTypes = {
  leftComponent: PropTypes.oneOfType([PropTypes.node, PropTypes.element]),
  rightComponent: PropTypes.oneOfType([PropTypes.node, PropTypes.element]),

3. Clean-Up local Git branches

To delete all local branches except master and feat/something-neat:

git branch | egrep -v 'master|feat/something-neat' | xargs git branch -D

Let’s break it down:

  1. git branch shows all your local branches, this gets piped to egrep
  2. egrep will return every branch that matches any identifier inside the quotes, which are separated by a |. The flag -v makes it return every branch that does not match the identifiers. This gets piped to xargs
  3. xargs passes branch names as arguments to git branch -D, which deletes the branch

It’s a good idea to first run git branch | egrep -v 'master|feat/something-neat' to see which branches will be deleted, and then run the full command.

4. Get a professional git history

Let’s say we are starting a website. We have 3 commits:

747ef1e feat: add Button
19d9327 feat: add Navbar
effb3b4 initial commit

But then we realise that we forget to commits some changes on the Navbar commit. What do we do? We could make a new commit with a message like git commit -m 'fix: missing changes on Navbar', but that commit wouldn’t have any semantic value to the commit history and it’d only make it less clear.

A proper solution would be to fixup the commit. We would do git commit --fixup 19d9327. Our history would be like this now:

c2149d1 fixup! feat: add Navbar
747ef1e feat: add Button
19d9327 feat: add Navbar
effb3b4 initial commit

And now, to squash this last commit with its reference, we would do git rebase --autosquash --interactive effb3b4. This will open Vim or other terminal text editor, just save the changes pressing ZZ and your history now will look like this:

de1e9de feat: add Button
b3b4932 feat: add Navbar
effb3b4 initial commit

Note that the commit hashes have changed, so only do this with commits that hasn’t been pushed yet.

Thanks to Sebastian Daschner for this knowledge!

5. Quickly start your work environment (MacOS)

There are a number of apps and programs that I use while working. Opening them one by one at the start of the day is a hassle and so is closing them at the end. So I made a bash script to automate this. Copy this text in ~/.bashrc .

For opening everything:

alias work_on="
open /Applications/Slack.app ; /
open /Applications/Mail.app ; /
open /Applications/Zeplin.app ; /
open /Applications/Postman.app ; /

Now I can just open my computer’s Terminal and type work_onand everything will be ready. Basically, you are passing the location of the app to the command open and concatenating the commands with ;. Most of the apps live in /Applications

For closing everything:

alias work_off="
osascript -e 'quit app \"Zeplin\"' ; /
osascript -e 'quit app \"Mail\"' ; /
osascript -e 'quit app \"Code\"' ; /
osascript -e 'quit app \"Slack\"' ; /
osascript -e 'quit app \"Postman\"' ; /

To close apps on macOS we can execute the quit app command with osascript -e.

Note here that I’m also closing my text editor osascript -e 'quit app \"Code\"' but I’m not opening it in the previous command. This is because I have a custom alias to open the editor with every different repo, so each time it will be different on opening but it will be the same on closing.

BONUS: How to be polite with your shell

This is more like an easter egg but in ~/.bashrc set de following alias:

alias please="sudo"

So now you can run polite super user commands:

please gatsby develop

Jon Portella

Written by Jon Portella.