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Why JavaScript Is and Will Continue to Be the First Choice of Programmers

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The software industry is constantly evolving. Many languages that were cutting edge just a few years ago either look outdated or have been made completely redundant today.

Today, new languages are emerging with surprising frequency to meet the changing needs of users. These languages are being used to build a new class of applications that have advanced features and cater to the demanding needs of businesses.

There is a wide range of options available for developers when it comes to functional, object-oriented and scripting languages.

To stay relevant in the world of programming, a developer (a professional or an amateur) needs to keep track of all new programming languages. As can be imagined, it is impossible for any developer to master every programming language.

But the arrival of new languages doesn’t mean the programming landscape is undergoing a massive overhaul all the time.

There are a few languages that have been holding their own against this onslaught of new languages. These programming languages have been around for a long time and aren’t going away anytime soon.

One such language is JavaScript. It keeps figuring in the list of popular programming languages and one could say developers are falling in love with it again and again.

The surprising fact is JavaScript also has its fair share of naysayers and has faced and continues to face criticisms from them. Until a few years ago, developers didn’t take it seriously and even questioned whether it could be considered a real programming language (at the same time, they continued using it).

These criticisms haven’t come in the way of its ubiquity; this language continues to be used everywhere - from front end web pages to mobile web apps and everything in between.

Even people who are not too keen on using JavaScript use it for want of an option and because it has evolved to meet the changing needs of the industry.

So, what is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a computer programming language for scripting interactive effects inside web browsers.

It is supported by all popular browsers like Microsoft Internet Explorer (beginning with version 3.0), Firefox, Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, etc. 

Quick History of JavaScript

Let’s have a look at what led to birth of JavaScript.

To implement something similar to Apple’s HyperCard – that was mainly developed to help build apps easily, Netscape developed LiveScript.

Overtime, LiveScript was rechristened to JavaScript.

Originally a client side language, JavaScript later migrated to server-side, thereby becoming an all pervasive language.

Why is JavaScript the first choice of Developers?

Earlier this year, industry analyst firm RedMonk, published a programming language popularity ranking; according to this ranking JavaScript leads the chart, followed closely by Java, PHP, C# and Python.

This leaves very little room for doubt that JavaScript’s popularity hasn’t taken a beating even after all these years.

It is one of the most versatile and effective languages that can be used by developers. According to a survey, JavaScript is used by 88% of all websites. You will find JavaScript not only on every website but also on mobile sites, games and web applications.

Let’s look at some of the pros of JavaScript that makes it so popular amongst developers:

1.  Client-side Processing: This means the code is executed on the user’s processor instead of the web server, thus saving bandwidth and reducing extra load of the server.

2.  Simple to learn: The syntax of this language is similar to simple English making it easier for developers to learn.

3.  Extended Functionality to Web Pages: Third party add-ons help JavaScript developers write snippets that can be utilized on the necessary web pages.

4.  Simple to Implement: Being able to use the same language in front end and back end makes the job easier for development teams.

5.  Inexpensive Language: It does not require any special compilers or editors. All a developer needs is a text editor and a browser to run JavaScript code.

6.  Relatively fast for the end user: No longer do visitors need to fill out an entire form and submit it in order to be told they made a typo in the first field and that they need to fill the complete form again. With JavaScript, each field can be validated as it is entered by the users; this provides immediate feedback when they make a mistake.

7.  Browsers with built-in JavaScript: Website users do not need special software and downloads to view JavaScript; every user gets the same experience.

Best Examples of JavaScript

A web developer can add personality to websites by using JavaScript. JavaScript is the native language of the browser. If you want to build single-page web apps, there is really only one language option for building client-side single-page apps, and that is JavaScript.

Some popular sites using JavaScript include Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon and Twitter. It's the top language used on Github.

There are also many web applications that avoid using HTML, and are coded entirely in JavaScript, these include Gmail and most of the Google apps.

Google is also executing JavaScript on web pages to index pages more accurately.

Why JavaScript is Valuable?

There are various reasons that make JavaScript a mainstream programming language. Let’s look at a few of them:

Ø  Last year Amazon launched AWS SDK for JavaScript in the browser. This lets developers write dynamic JavaScript applications that can access AWS services from the browser without the need to write any server-side code and configure an application server for hosting.

Ø  Google pushed JavaScript forward with their V8 JavaScript Engine.

Ø  You can even program hardware in JavaScript including playing DVDs.

Ø  GitHub’s Atom editor is built almost entirely around CoffeeScript, which compiles to JS.

Future of JavaScript

Rather than asking, “What is the future of JavaScript?” the right thing to say is JavaScript is the future.

In an answer to the question: “What is the most valuable programming language to know for the future and why?” on Quora, Kevin Suttle, a senior front end developer at IBM Design quoted William Ting’s answer to the same question saying “JavaScript will stay relevant as long as people use the Internet.”

JavaScript has evolved with additions like like node.js, jQuery (a library), JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) MongoDB and ES6 Generators; this makes it an extremely important language for developers and ensures it doesn’t lose its relevance.

The Best is yet to Come!

All the above points make one thing clear: JavaScript is here to stay. It's almost impossible that JavaScript will be replaced by another language anytime soon. In fact, it can be said with a fair degree of surety that it will not only maintain but also extend its hold on the World Wide Web.

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