JavaScript is essential to web and software development.

When it comes to web and software development, JavaScript is a crucial flexible language to learn. 

JavaScript is a scripting language that can be run in any browser. As a result, it can bring a webpage to life by adding visual effects or create new features for web apps such as Gmail.

Here’s what you should know about JavaScript and why coders use it: 

JavaScript In-Browser Capabilities

In a browser, JavaScript is able to manipulate a page in several ways. It is able to add HTML to a page and modify its existing content. The programming language can also react to user actions, ask users questions, set cookies, or show messages. 

With its abilities, the program also has limitations. For instance, if sites from different domains are open on separate tabs, JavaScript from one of the pages does not have access to the other. These measures are in place so that private information and user data can be protected.

Other Programming Languages JavaScript is Used With For the Web

HTML and CSS are commonly used alongside JavaScript, serving as three of the most important languages to learn for web development. 

HTML creates the structure of the web page. However, it only makes simple text or images, which isn’t what most people are used to when they are on the modern web. CSS is another programming language that is primarily used to style the page. If a certain part of the text is bold or a different color, that means CSS has been used to modify the page.

Ultimately, a lot of the features that we are used to seeing on the web are made through JavaScript. For instance, features that are made with this kind of programming include dropdown menus, audio, video, slideshows, and forms.

JavaScript in Mobile Apps

JavaScript can also be used for mobile applications. Through the use of a mobile development framework, which is a software framework that can support mobile app development, mobile apps for Android or iOS can be made through the programming language. Rather than needing to learn a new language, the framework helps expand the abilities of JavaScript and sometimes other web scripting languages. 

A few examples of mobile development frameworks include: Apache Cordova, NativeScript, and React Native. Apache Cordova allows a coder to use different programs—like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript—to create iOS or Android apps. Meanwhile, React Native, which is based on React, uses JavaScript for Android and iOS. NativeScript also primarily uses JavaScript but is a bit different in that it is more flexible than programs like Cordova. 

What makes JavaScript a flexible language? 

JavaScript is an interpreted programming language. An interpreted language is compiled at the moment it is run, making it easier for changes to be made. Meanwhile, a compiled language requires extra steps: the program needs to be opened, the changes in the code have to be added, and then it needs to be compiled to see if the changes are correct.

With interpreted languages, it is also easier for the coder since there are fewer syntax rules involved in the coding. However, an interpreted code usually runs slower than compiled code. Another example of a popular interpreted language is Python. 

Who Uses JavaScript? 

The most common professions that use JavaScript are front-end developers and web developers. Web developers, including front end developers, create websites. A front-end developer focuses on building the visible parts of a website, which can include features like photo galleries or articles. 

Web development is a growing area in the technology industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for the profession is expected to grow 8 percent in the next ten years, which is faster than the average growth for most professions. 

JavaScript is also used by more than just developers. According to a 2020 Developer Survey by StackOverflow, JavaScript is the most commonly used language by all coders (67.7 percent) and specifically, professional developers (69.7 percent). 

JavaScript and Big Tech

JavaScript is used by a number of big technology companies, such as Microsoft, Twitter, and Google.

However, one of the biggest technology companies known for using JavaScript is Facebook. Since is on the web, the company’s programmers utilize JavaScript for the front-end along with the programming language PHP.

Facebook software engineer Jordan Walke also created a JavaScript library named React in 2011 to help make the social media site more engaging. React has also been used in Instagram and WhatsApp as well. 

Why is JavaScript important? 

According to Web Technology Surveys, JavaScript is utilized for client-side programming in 97.1 percent of all websites. Hence, it is a widely used language that has been essential to web development. 

Beginners, as well as expert coders, will find it to be an easy program to learn, while also providing substantial benefits as it can be used substantially in the technology industry.

Sophia Acevedo

Sophia Acevedo is a journalist based in Southern California. She is a 2020 graduate from California State University, Fullerton, and a proud Daily Titan alum.