Home > Store

Programming in CoffeeScript

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Programming in CoffeeScript


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale


  • Copyright 2012
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/8"
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-82010-X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-82010-5

Use CoffeeScript to Write Better JavaScript Code Than Ever Before!

If you can do it in JavaScript, you can do it better in CoffeeScript. And, since CoffeeScript “compiles down” to JavaScript, your code will fit neatly into virtually any web environment. In Programming in CoffeeScript, Mark Bates shows web developers why CoffeeScript is so useful and how it avoids the problems that often make JavaScript code buggy and unmanageable. He guides you through every feature and technique you need to write quality CoffeeScript code and shows how to take advantage of CoffeeScript’s increasingly robust toolset.

Bates begins with the absolute basics of running and compiling CoffeeScript and then introduces syntax, control structures, functions, collections, and classes. Through same page code comparisons, you’ll discover exactly how CoffeeScript improves on JavaScript. Next, you’ll put it to work in building applications that are powerful, flexible, maintainable, concise, reliable, and secure. Bates shares valuable tips for better development, illuminating CoffeeScript’s hidden gems and warning you about its remaining “rough edges.” The book concludes with a start-to-finish application case study showing how to code back-ends and front-ends and integrate powerful frameworks and libraries. Coverage includes

  • Understanding the right ways to compile and execute CoffeeScript
  • Using CoffeeScript’s clean syntax to focus on your code, not JavaScript’s distractions
  • Working with CoffeeScript’s control structures, functions, and arguments
  • Taking full advantage of CoffeeScript’s implementation of collections and iterators
  • Leveraging CoffeeScript’s full class support to create complex data models
  • Automating common application development tasks with Cake and Cakefiles
  • Configuring Jasmine with CoffeeScript support, and using it to systematically test your code
  • Writing Node.js server-side applications in CoffeeScript
  • Using CoffeeScript to write jQuery and Backbone.js applications
  • Integrating framework code to avoid “reinventing the wheel”

Want a better way to create the JavaScript code your web applications need? CoffeeScript is the solution–and this book will help you master it!


Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

How to Use Functions and Arguments in CoffeeScript

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 4 and Index)

Table of Contents

Dedication    v

Acknowledgments    xii

About the Author    xiv

Preface    xv

What Is CoffeeScript?    xvii

Who Is This Book For?    xix

How to Read This Book    xix

How This Book Is Organized    xxi

Part I: Core CoffeeScript    xxii

Part II: CoffeeScript in Practice    xxii

Installing CoffeeScript    xxiii

How to Run the Examples    xxiii

Notes    xxiv

Part I: Core CoffeeScript

1  Getting Started    3

The CoffeeScript REPL    3

In-Browser Compilation    6

Caveats    7

Command-Line Compilation    7

The compile Flag    7

The CoffeeScript CLI    8

The output Flag    9

The bare Flag    9

The print Flag    10

The watch Flag    10

Executing CoffeeScript Files    11

Other Options    11

Wrapping Up    12

Notes    12

2  The Basics    13

Syntax    13

Significant Whitespace    14

Function Keyword    16

Parentheses    16

Scope and Variables    18

Variable Scope in JavaScript    18

Variable Scope in CoffeeScript    19

The Anonymous Wrapper Function    20

Interpolation    23

String Interpolation    23

Interpolated Strings    23

Literal Strings    25

Heredocs    28

Comments    29

Inline Comments    29

Block Comments    30

Extended Regular Expressions    31

Wrapping Up    31

Notes    32

3  Control Structures    33

Operators and Aliases    33

Arithmetic    33

Assignment    35

Comparison    39

String    42

The Existential Operator    43

Aliases    46

The is and isnt Aliases    47

The not Alias    48

The and and or Aliases    49

The Boolean Aliases    50

The @ Alias    51

If/Unless    52

The if Statement    53

The if/else Statement    54

The if/else if Statement    56

The unless Statement    58

Inline Conditionals    60

Switch/Case Statements    60

Wrapping Up    63

Notes    63

4  Functions and Arguments    65

Function Basics    68

Arguments    70

Default Arguments    72

Splats...    75

Wrapping Up    79

Notes    79

5  Collections and Iterations    81

Arrays    81

Testing Inclusion    83

Swapping Assignment    85

Multiple Assignment aka Destructing Assignment    86

Ranges    90

Slicing Arrays    92

Replacing Array Values    94

Injecting Values    95

Objects/Hashes    96

Getting/Setting Attributes    101

Destructuring Assignment    103

Loops and Iteration    105

Iterating Arrays    105

The by Keyword    106

The when Keyword    107

Iterating Objects    108

The by Keyword    109

The when Keyword    109

The own Keyword    110

while Loops    113

until Loops    114

Comprehensions    116

The do Keyword    119

Wrapping Up    120

Notes    121

6  Classes    123

Defining Classes    123

Defining Functions    125

The constructor Function    126

Scope in Classes    127

Extending Classes    137

Class-Level Functions    145

Prototype Functions    150

Binding (-> Versus =>)    151

Wrapping Up    158

Notes    158

Part II: CoffeeScript in Practice

7  Cake and Cakefiles    161

Getting Started    161

Creating Cake Tasks    162

Running Cake Tasks    163

Using Options    163

Invoking Other Tasks    167

Wrapping Up    169

Notes    170

8  Testing with Jasmine    171

Installing Jasmine    172

Setting Up Jasmine    172

Introduction to Jasmine    175

Unit Testing    176

Before and After    181

Custom Matchers    187

Wrapping Up    190

Notes    191

9  Intro to Node.js    193

What Is Node.js?    193

Installing Node    194

Getting Started    195

Streaming Responses    197

Building a CoffeeScript Server    199

Trying Out the Server    214

Wrapping Up    215

Notes    215

10  Example: Todo List Part    1 (Server-side)    217

Installing and Setting Up Express    218

Setting Up MongoDB Using Mongoose    222

Writing the Todo API    225

Querying with Mongoose    226

Finding All Todos    227

Creating New Todos    228

Getting, Updating, and Destroying a Todo    230

Cleaning Up the Controller    232

Wrapping Up    236

Notes    236

11  Example: Todo List Part    2 (Client-side w/ jQuery)    237

Priming the HTML with Twitter Bootstrap    237

Interacting with jQuery    240

Hooking Up the New Todo Form    242

Cleaning Up the Todo List with Underscore.js

Templates    244

Listing Existing Todos    247

Updating Todos    248

Deleting Todos    252

Wrapping Up    253

Notes    253

12  Example: Todo List Part    3 (Client-side w/ Backbone.js)    255

What Is Backbone.js?    255

Cleaning Up    256

Setting Up Backbone.js    256

Writing our Todo Model and Collection    260

Listing Todos Using a View    263

Creating New Todos    265

A View per Todo    268

Updating and Validating Models from Views    270

Validation    272

Deleting Models from Views    273

Wrapping Up    275

Notes    275

Index    277


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020