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What is JavaScript?

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JavaScript (usually shortened to JS) is a high-level object-oriented programming language that is fully compliant with the ECMAScript standard. JS is a dynamic multi-paradigm scripting language geared primarily for enhancing functionality of websites – creating web pages with complex interactive elements, like rich animation, videos, validatable web forms, and other client-side use cases. This is a robust versatile tool used for browser game development, and for building flexible mobile and web applications. JS is designed to perfectly match both back-end and front-end workflows. Together with CSS and HTML, JavaScript is at the very core of today’s web development practices. According to the Stack Overflow survey 2020, JavaScript has been remaining the most popular language used by professional web developers for the eighth year in a row.

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Core features of JavaScript

Platform agnostic

Due to its independent nature, JS is run smoothly on all today’s browsers. The language requires no compilation, and is fully compatible with most platforms, be it Windows, Mac, or any Linux-based platform.

Extended functionality for web pages

JavaScript is capable of enhancing any browser’s functionality with a number of improvements providing greater website control, reduced traffic volumes and web server workloads.

Creating functions in HTML scripts

JavaScript provides developers with a unique option to generate dynamic content and utilize built-in functions while writing scripts of HTML documents.

User’s input validation

JavaScript is great when it comes to verifying and approving user activities across website forms. It can check the input information for compliance and mistakes before sending the user's data to the server.

Client-side tasks processing

JS is able to quickly handle routine repeated tasks without addressing the server computational capacities. With this, a user no longer needs to wait extra time for server-side response as JavaScript handles most of the basic calculations in place.

Platform agnostic

Due to its independent nature, JS is run smoothly on all today’s browsers. The language requires no compilation, and is fully compatible with most platforms, be it Windows, Mac, or any Linux-based platform.

Extended functionality for web pages

JavaScript is capable of enhancing any browser’s functionality with a number of improvements providing greater website control, reduced traffic volumes and web server workloads.

Creating functions in HTML scripts

JavaScript provides developers with a unique option to generate dynamic content and utilize built-in functions while writing scripts of HTML documents.

User’s input validation

JavaScript is great when it comes to verifying and approving user activities across website forms. It can check the input information for compliance and mistakes before sending the user's data to the server.

Client-side tasks processing

JS is able to quickly handle routine repeated tasks without addressing the server computational capacities. With this, a user no longer needs to wait extra time for server-side response as JavaScript handles most of the basic calculations in place.

New functions of JS

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With the recent release of the ECMAScript 2020 specification, known as ES11, JavaScript enjoys a scope of new functions:

  • Dynamic Import
  • BigInt
  • GlobalThis
  • String.prototype.matchAll
  • Private Class Variables
  • Module Namespace Exports
  • Optional Chaining Operator
  • Promise.allSettled
  • Nullish Coalescing Operator

Main benefits of using JavaScript

Fast

JS is a client-side programming language. It means its code is executed on the user’s hardware with no web server capacities involved. This results in faster webpage load times and overall website deployment.

Interpretable

JS is a scripting programming language, which is easily read, interpreted and run by most web browsers. It also works smoothly with HTML and CSS.

Compatible

JavaScript can be paired up for software development purposes with any popular programming language, like Pearl, Ruby, PHP, Java, .NET or Python. To be run in the browser, other languages have JS support so that their code can be transpiled into JavaScript.

Clear and simple

Due to its easy syntax, JS has a steep learning curve making it a perfect web development tool for both seasoned programmers and new dev enthusiasts.

Feature-rich

JavaScript enjoys a wide variety of functions for robust web development. It enables creating rich user interfaces that add much value to the overall website UX.

Multiple libraries, frameworks, and environments.

Though designed primarily for client-side web development purposes, JS now has got a plethora of use cases that include server-side applications. Greater usage is provided thanks to many JS libraries, frameworks and runtime environments, like Angular, React, Vue.js, Ember.js, Node.js and many others.

Key Facts of JavaScript

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When was JavaScript created?

The introduction of JS dates back to 1995, when Netscape implemented the scripting language developed by Brendan Eich in its Navigator web browser. Since then, JavaScript has been adopted by all today’s popular browsers to enable dynamic content creation and interactivity without any need to reload web pages.

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JavaScript vs Java

Despite their almost identical names, the two programming languages are quite different in their architecture, functions, and purposes. JS is an object-oriented language that has dynamic typing, whereas Java is a class-based language with static typing. Unlike Java, JavaScript allows for less strict rules, like dynamic inheritance, easier syntax, and minimal requirements for creating objects.

JavaScript: Use cases

The numerous .js libraries and frameworks along with JS-based runtime environments contribute greatly to extending the area of JavaScript application. For now, JS can be efficiently utilized to perform both client-side and server-side operations. Given this, it goes beyond mere web browser task processing enabling much more complex software development flows for front-end and back-end teams.

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Web development

Web Development is a primary usage of JS. As a standalone language, it allows software programmers to create website pages that enjoy dynamic content. JavaScript enables specific graphic effects to be run on web pages, which greatly improve user website experience. JS makes it easy for end-users to fill in website forms while validating the input data they share. Handling any website widgets, opening text file formats like PDF is also available on JS-backed web pages.

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Web apps

Web applications based on JavaScript can process user-generated requests and come up with some expected results without any additional server resources involved. Developers and end-users save a great deal of time and effort while leveraging JS-driven web apps that need no page reloading to perform user tasks. Such interactive web applications like a map navigator, calculating tool, currency converter, calendar, or a color picker add much value to website UX improvement.

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Game development

The use of JavaScript tools powered by the potential of HTML5 and WebGL can help game developers create graphic-rich browser games. Due to its compatibility with most browsers, JS-based libraries like EaselJS with the help of HTML Canvas API provide high-quality solutions for game creation, generative art, and other graphic-related tasks.

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Server applications

Creating network applications is easy with JS-backed runtime environments like Node.js. Paired with a number of various modules via APIs, the server-side use cases include data gathering, system monitoring, Big Data analytics, real-time data processing, web scraping and automation.

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Mobile app development

Today’s popular mobile application development frameworks, like Apache Cordova or React Native enable using HTML and JavaScript code to create robust apps for mobile phones and other gadgets. The solutions are deployed as cross-platform apps, and work well on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.

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2

Web apps

Web applications based on JavaScript can process user-generated requests and come up with some expected results without any additional server resources involved. Developers and end-users save a great deal of time and effort while leveraging JS-driven web apps that need no page reloading to perform user tasks. Such interactive web applications like a map navigator, calculating tool, currency converter, calendar, or a color picker add much value to website UX improvement.

4

Server applications

Creating network applications is easy with JS-backed runtime environments like Node.js. Paired with a number of various modules via APIs, the server-side use cases include data gathering, system monitoring, Big Data analytics, real-time data processing, web scraping and automation.

1

Web development

Web Development is a primary usage of JS. As a standalone language, it allows software programmers to create website pages that enjoy dynamic content. JavaScript enables specific graphic effects to be run on web pages, which greatly improve user website experience. JS makes it easy for end-users to fill in website forms while validating the input data they share. Handling any website widgets, opening text file formats like PDF is also available on JS-backed web pages.

3

Game development

The use of JavaScript tools powered by the potential of HTML5 and WebGL can help game developers create graphic-rich browser games. Due to its compatibility with most browsers, JS-based libraries like EaselJS with the help of HTML Canvas API provide high-quality solutions for game creation, generative art, and other graphic-related tasks.

5

Mobile app development

Today’s popular mobile application development frameworks, like Apache Cordova or React Native enable using HTML and JavaScript code to create robust apps for mobile phones and other gadgets. The solutions are deployed as cross-platform apps, and work well on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.

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