Talking scriptie-talkie

I recently created scriptie-talkie, a tool designed to make learning, writing and debugging JavaScript as interactive and fast as possible.

In order to to archieve this, the time between code changes to showing result is minimized and the information presented is much more than just the final result of running the script.

Is scriptie-talkie for me?

If any of the below is true for yourself, you should definitely give scriptie-talkie a try:

How does scriptie-talkie work?

scriptie-talkie splits your code into small snippets, evaluates each of them separately and prints out information to answer the following questions:

This information is communicated as follows:


We will go through some code examples powered by scriptie-talkie-embed and things should become a lot clearer:

On the left side you see the editor containing a short script, while the right side contains the result of scriptie-talkie running it.

You may click on full view link in order to open the example inside a full page scriptie-talkie editor.

The editor in the left pane

You can edit the script on the left to your delight to see the result on the right update in real time. Notice also that error and warning indicators are displayed on the gutter on the left side of the editor. You can see this in action if you edit the last line so that it only contains var b =.

Give it a try!

Analyzing the information displayed inside the right pane

The first line var a = 1; adds a with value 1 to the context which is indicated via + a: 1 on the right. Notice that anything with a line number in front of it represents the snippet that was run.

The second line var b = a++; does two things. It adds variable b to the context and assigns a++ to it. This is indicated via + b: 1. Note that when a was assigned to b it still had value 1. a++ causes a to be modified which is indicated by ~ a: 2.

Showing difference of ++a and a++

Since we talked about using scriptie-talkie as a learning aid, let's demonstrate the difference betweent a++ and ++a:

Now, when executing line 2, var b = ++a; a is incremented before it is assigned to b and therefore assigned to 2.

Objects and return Values

Lets look at an example that deals with objects instead of just primitive types:

On lines 1-4 we create a car which is indicated via + car on the right.

On line 6 we increase the price of the car. This change is indicated by displaying the car properties with the new price in blue, compared to the old one 1001 // != 1000

The => 1000 at the bottom indicates that the old price was returned (which is something not everyone is aware of).

We can use this fact in order to assign this value in order to keep track of the old price.

Functions and side effects

Lets add a function to drive the car:

Driving the car 22 miles had the side effect of increasing its mileage. This fact is clearly indicated by scriptie-talkie's output.

This is very useful to explain features (in this case closures) to beginners. It also can help you to become aware of everything that is actually going on when a certain snippet of your code is executing.

use strict

scriptie-talkie enforces local use strict i.e. inside a function, but global use strict is only partially enforced.

Basically only global strict violations that can be discovered by just parsing the code are shown and all others ignored:

We see a warning in the editor, and the violation is clearly indicated on the right.

In the next example the assignment on line 4 does not have any effect, since scriptie-talkie does respect that the object was frozen, but the strict violation is ignored:

Therefore in order to make sure that use strict is taking effect, we wrap the questionable code inside a function and turn on strict mode inside it. This unfortunately has the disadvantage that we don't see any intermediate results for every statement inside of the function since it is evaluated as one chunk:

Using scriptie-talkie in your blog

It is very easy to embed scriptie-talkie code samples, like the ones here, in your blog. It comes down to simply adding a script tag or a dependency to your browserified bundle and including your code inside of <textarea>s identified with a particular class.


var scriptieTalkieEmbed = require('scriptie-talkie-embed');

script tag

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

code sample

<textarea class="scriptie-talkie">
  var o = {a : 1};
  o.a = 2;
  o.a = 1; 

Please find more information about embedding scriptie-talkie here.

Alternatively, the Developer blOGging engine supports external and inlined scriptie-talkie snippets.

Customizing the appearance of scriptie talkies

You can add scriptie-talkie specific styles in order to control how they are rendered. It has quite sensible defaults, but you can tweak them to get the best result.

As an example this very blog includes the following scriptie-talkie related styles.

Prevent textareas from being displayed until they are converted to scriptie-talkies:

textarea.scriptie-talkie-container {
  visibility: hidden;

Adjust size and border a bit:

.scriptie-talkie-container {
  border        :  3px solid #504D4D;
  border-radius :  5px;
  width         :  805px !important;

Wrapping Up

I hope you found this useful and will add scriptie-talkie to your arsenal of tools when either learning or debugging JavaScript. I should mention that scriptie-talkie will make its way into replpad fairly soon, so you can enjoy its features right inside your terminal.

Looking forward to seeing some scriptie-talkies in your blogs!

If you are interested you can look at the source of this blog.