ESLint: A Powerful Tool for JavaScript Linting and Style Checking

If you are a JavaScript user for quite long time, you will be aware of the flexibility and the great deal of power the language offers. But unlike compiled languages, it’s really easy for the syntax errors to creep into the code without you realizing it until and unless you run the code. So you can make linting a part of your work flow, either as a reminder to keep an eye on you or as a part of your build process to notify you of the errors that could cause unexpected results or crashes.

Even the most mindful developers can let the things like this creep in without them being aware of it. So, having a tool to keep you in check can definitely be a valuable asset. ESLint is one such JavaScript linting and style checking tool which was introduced in 2013.

ESLint has several features that appeal you towards it and also prompts you to make a switch.

  • The tool comprises the robust set of all the default rules and also covers up the rules that already exist in JSLint and JSHint.
  • The rules are configurable; it allows you to decide what a warning or error is.
  • Its style checking rules can help you keep the code format consistent across the teams.
  • ESLint also allows you to write your own rules and plugins.

Getting started with ESLint

  • Getting started with ESLint is pretty straightforward; you don’t get bewildered as you have lots of ways to configure and integrate it with your work flow. You will have an .eslintrc file and .eslint field in the package.json using which you can do the configurations. You can also do per-file configuration within the file you are linting.
  • If the .eslintrc file is in the root of the project, it will be the set of rules to be applied across the project, but if ESLint finds another file in the sub folder, those rules will have to be applied instead. This allows you to have custom set of rules for unit tests, server side code and the client side code.
  • In order to take the things in the right way, you need to lint earlier and quite often. Earlier you lint, better will be the things. Having it as a part of your workflow, helps you ensure that it’s always done.

Style checking

Having consistency in writing style and formatting makes the things easier to understand. When you are in a team, having everyone adhere to an agreed style guide can have a similar affect. On combining the style guide with auto-formatting tools like JSPrettify, it makes it easier to merge the changes and spot out the differences in the files.

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