Cover by Nicholas C. Zakas

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Use the Fast Parts

Even though JavaScript is often blamed for being slow, there are parts of the language that are incredibly fast. This should come as no surprise, since JavaScript engines are built in lower-level languages and are therefore compiled. Though it’s easy to blame the engine when JavaScript appears slow, the engine is typically the fastest part of the process; it’s your code that is actually running slowly. There are parts of the engine that are much faster than others because they allow you to bypass the slow parts.

Bitwise Operators

Bitwise operators are one of the most frequently misunderstood aspects of JavaScript. General opinion is that developers don’t understand how to use these operators and frequently mistake them for their Boolean equivalents. As a result, bitwise operators are used infrequently in JavaScript development, despite their advantages.

JavaScript numbers are all stored in IEEE-754 64-bit format. For bitwise operations, though, the number is converted into a signed 32-bit representation. Each operator then works directly on this 32-bit representation to achieve a result. Despite the conversion, this process is incredibly fast when compared to other mathematical and Boolean operations in JavaScript.

If you’re unfamiliar with binary representation of numbers, JavaScript makes it easy to convert a number into a string containing its binary equivalent by using the toString() method and passing in the number 2. For example:

var num1 = 25, num2 = 3; alert(num1.toString(2)); ...

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