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Episode 55: AST, Uses, and Tooling

Over the past few years, the ability to create abstract syntax trees (AST) as a way of representing our code in a machine-readable data structure has become more reliable and more capable. Having a full snapshot of your code sounds great, but knowing how to navigate it and do anything useful with it can be intimidating. We’re here to help!

We look at what AST is currently used for and how it already serves at the backbone of many tools you’re familiar with. Nick introduces us to the rich ecosystem around AST and how straightforward it has become to make it a part of a modern project. We round things out with some ways we think AST can make our lives better.

Speakers
Bryan Forbes on Twitter
Neil Roberts on Twitter
Paul Shannon on Twitter
Nick Nisi on Twitter

Show Notes
Below are links to the resources and topics mentioned during this episode.

Isn’t top-level await a footgun?
TypeScript 3.8
jscodeshift
AST Types
recast
TSLint
ESLint
Prettier
Using the TypeScript Compiler API
Getting the DTS from a JavaScript file
Codemod
AST explorer
Babel

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