Should I use JSLint or JSHint JavaScript validation?

Should I use JSLint or JSHint JavaScript validation?

I am currently validating my JavaScript against JSLint and making progress on, it’s assisting me to write better JavaScript – in particular in working with the Jquery library.
I have now come across JSHint, a fork of JSLint.
So I am wondering for web applications, which are very much JavaScript was driven, which is the better or most applicable validation tool to work against:

JSLint or JSHint?

I want to decide now on a validation mechanism and moving forward, use this for client side validation.
And Difference between jshint and jslint? Please explain in single javascript example.
Links:

jshint- http://www.jshint.com/
jslint- http://jslint.com/

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

[EDIT]
This answer has been edited. I’m leaving the original answer below for context (otherwise the comments wouldn’t make sense).

When this question was originally asked, JSLint was the main linting tool for JavaScript. JSHint was a new fork of JSLint, but had not yet diverged much from the original.

Since then, JSLint has remained pretty much static, while JSHint has changed a great deal – it has thrown away many of JSLint’s more antagonistic rules, has added a whole load of new rules, and has generally become more flexible. Also, another tool ESLint is now available, which is even more flexible and has more rule options.

In my original answer, I said that you should not force yourself to stick to JSLint’s rules; as long as you understood why it was throwing a warning, you could make a judgement for yourself about whether to change the code to resolve the warning or not.

With the ultra-strict ruleset of JSLint from 2011, this was reasonable advice — I’ve seen very few JavaScript codesets that could pass a JSLint test. However with the more pragmatic rules available in today’s JSHint and ESLint tools, it is a much more realistic proposition to try to get your code passing through them with zero warnings.

There may still occasionally be cases where a linter will complain about something that you’ve done intentionally — for example, you know that you should always use === but just this one time you have a good reason to use ==. But even then, with ESLint you have the option to specify eslint-disable around the line in question so you can still have a passing lint test with zero warnings, with the rest of your code obeying the rule. (just don’t do that kind of thing too often!)


[ORIGINAL ANSWER FOLLOWS]

By all means use JSLint. But don’t get hung up on the results and on fixing everything that it warns about. It will help you improve your code, and it will help you find potential bugs, but not everything that JSLint complains about turns out to be a real problem, so don’t feel like you have to complete the process with zero warnings.

Pretty much any Javascript code with any significant length or complexity will produce warnings in JSLint, no matter how well written it is. If you don’t believe me, try running some popular libraries like JQuery through it.

Some JSLint warnings are more valuable than others: learn which ones to watch out for, and which ones are less important. Every warning should be considered, but don’t feel obliged to fix your code to clear any given warning; it’s perfectly okay to look at the code and decide you’re happy with it; there are times when things that JSlint doesn’t like are actually the right thing to do.

Solution 2:

tl;dr takeaway:

If you’re looking for a very high standard for yourself or team, JSLint. But its not necessarily THE standard, just A standard, some of which comes to us dogmatically from a javascript god named Doug Crockford. If you want to be a bit more flexible, or have some old pros on your team that don’t buy into JSLint’s opinions, or are going back and forth between JS and other C-family languages on a regular basis, try JSHint.

long version:

The reasoning behind the fork explains pretty well why JSHint exists:

http://badassjs.com/post/3364925033/jshint-an-community-driven-fork-of-jslint http://anton.kovalyov.net/2011/02/20/why-i-forked-jslint-to-jshint/

So I guess the idea is that it’s “community-driven” rather than Crockford-driven. In practicality, JSHint is generally a bit more lenient (or at least configurable or agnostic) on a few stylistic and minor syntactical “opinions” that JSLint is a stickler on.

As an example, if you think both the A and B below are fine, or if you want to write code with one or more of the aspects of A that aren’t available in B, JSHint is for you. If you think B is the only correct option… JSLint. I’m sure there are other differences, but this highlights a few.

A) Passes JSHint out of the box – fails JSLint

(function() {
  "use strict";
  var x=0, y=2;
  function add(val1, val2){
    return val1 + val2;
  }
  var z;
  for (var i=0; i<2; i++){
    z = add(y, x+i);
  }
})();

B) Passes Both JSHint and JSLint

(function () {
    "use strict";
    var x = 0, y = 2, i, z;
    function add(val1, val2) {
       return val1 + val2;
    }
    for (i = 0; i < 2; i += 1) {
        z = add(y, x + i);
    }
}());

Personally I find JSLint code very nice to look at, and the only hard features of it that I disagree with are its hatred of more than one var declaration in a function and of for-loop var i = 0 declarations, and some of the whitespace enforcements for function declarations.

A few of the whitespace things that JSLint enforces, I find to be not necessarily bad, but out of sync with some pretty standard whitespace conventions for other languages in the family (C, Java, Python, etc…), which are often followed as conventions in Javascript as well. Since I’m writing in various of these languages throughout the day, and working with team members who don’t like Lint-style whitespace in our code, I find JSHint to be a good balance. It catches stuff that’s a legitimate bug or really bad form, but doesn’t bark at me like JSLint does (sometimes, in ways I can’t disable) for the stylistic opinions or syntactic nitpicks that I don’t care for.

A lot of good libraries aren’t Lint’able, which to me demonstrates that there’s some truth to the idea that some of JSLint is simply just about pushing 1 version of “good code” (which is, indeed, good code). But then again, the same libraries (or other good ones) probably aren’t Hint’able either, so, touché.

Solution 3:

There is an another mature and actively developed “player” on the javascript linting front – ESLint:

ESLint is a tool for identifying and reporting on patterns found in
ECMAScript/JavaScript code. In many ways, it is similar to JSLint and
JSHint with a few exceptions:

  • ESLint uses Esprima for JavaScript parsing.
  • ESLint uses an AST to evaluate patterns in code.
  • ESLint is completely pluggable, every
    single rule is a plugin and you can add more at runtime.

What really matters here is that it is extendable via custom plugins/rules. There are already multiple plugins written for different purposes. Among others, there are:

And, of course, you can use your build tool of choice to run ESLint:

Solution 4:

I had the same question a couple of weeks ago and was evaluating both JSLint and JSHint.

Contrary to the answers in this question, my conclusion was not:

By all means use JSLint.

Or:

If you’re looking for a very high standard for yourself or team, JSLint.

As you can configure almost the same rules in JSHint as in JSLint. So I would argue that there’s not much difference in the rules you could achieve.

So the reasons to choose one over another are more political than technical.

We’ve finally decided to go with JSHint because of the following reasons:

  • Seems to be more configurable that JSLint.
  • Looks definitely more community-driven rather than one-man-show (no matter how cool The Man is).
  • JSHint matched our code style OOTB better that JSLint.

Solution 5:

I’d make a third suggestion, Google Closure Compiler (and also the Closure Linter). You can try it out online here.

The Closure Compiler is a tool for making JavaScript download and run faster. It is a true compiler for JavaScript. Instead of compiling from a source language to machine code, it compiles from JavaScript to better JavaScript. It parses your JavaScript, analyzes it, removes dead code and rewrites and minimizes what’s left. It also checks syntax, variable references, and types, and warns about common JavaScript pitfalls.

Solution 6:

Foreword: Well, that escalated quickly. But decided to pull it through. May this answer be helpful to you and other readers.

I got a bit carried away here

Code Hinting

While JSLint and JSHint are good tools to use, over the years I’ve come to appreciate what my friend @ugly_syntax calls:

smaller design space.

This is a general principle, much like a “zen monk”, limiting the choices one has to make, one can be more productive and creative.

Therefore my current favourite zero-config JS code style:

StandardJS.

UPDATE:

Flow has improved a lot. With it, you
can add types to your JS with will help you prevent a lot
of bugs. But it can also stay out of your way, for instance
when interfacing untyped JS. Give it a try!

Quickstart / TL;DR

Add standard as a dependency to you project

npm install --save standard

Then in package.json, add the following test script:

"scripts": {
    "test": "node_modules/.bin/standard && echo put further tests here"
},

For snazzier output while developing, npm install --global snazzy and run it instead of npm test.

Note: Type checking versus Heuristics

My friend when mentioning design space referred to Elm and I encourage you to give that language a try.

Why? JS is in fact inspired by LISP, which is a special class of languages, which happens to be untyped. Language such as Elm or Purescript are typed functional programming languages.

Type restrict your freedom in order for the compiler to be able to check and guide you when you end up violation the language or your own program’s rules; regardless of the size (LOC) of your program.

We recently had a junior colleague implement a reactive interface twice: once in Elm, once in React; have a look to get some idea of what I’m talking about.

Compare Main.elm (typed) ⇔ index.js (untyped, no tests)

(ps. note that the React code is not idiomatic and could be improved)

One final remark,

the reality is that JS is untyped. Who am I to suggest typed programming to you?

See, with JS we are in a different domain: freed from types, we can easily express things that are hard or impossible to give a proper type (which can certainly be an advantage).

But without types there is little to keep our programs in check, so we are forced to introduce tests and (to a lesser extend) code styles.

I recommend you look at LISP (e.g. ClojureScript) for inspiration and invest in testing your codes. Read The way of the substack to get an idea.

Peace.