But what is it? And how does it stack up against other languages, such as Python, C, or Java? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more!
Most companies and web developers saw a need to overcome this limitation, and so in 1995, Netscape, the company that created the most popular browser at the time, decided to add a scripting language to its browser, Netscape Navigator.
Although JS was originally conceived as an add-on for web browsers to make them more interactive, it has since become one of the most popular programming languages in use today.
Web applications that can dynamically modify the HTML and CSS to update a user interface without reloading the entire page are a common application for JS code.
- Web development (e.g., creating web pages, adding dynamic behaviors and special effects to a page)
- Creating highly flexible web applications
- Creating mobile applications (via the widely used React Native framework)
- Creating video games (e.g., browser games)
- Creating web servers using Node.js
- Server applications (generating content and handling HTTP requests)
- Easy to learn
It has a simple structure, which doesn’t require much time or effort to get started with.
- Extremely popular
It is an interpreted programming language, which reduces the time required by other languages (e.g., Java) for compilation. It is also client-side, which means that it loads and executes faster because it doesn’t require you to connect to a server.
- Less overhead
- Allows for greater user interactivity
- Works perfectly with other languages
This interoperability allows developers to embed it into HTML web pages or even inside the script of another language!
- Capable of both front- and back-end development
- Not that secure
Because users can easily see JS code, some may utilize it for malicious purposes, such as using the source code without authentication or injecting some code into a website that compromises the security of its data.
- Requires you to check for browser support
- Quite tricky to debug
As you build and run JS on a browser, your tools for debugging problematic code are quite limited, especially when you compare them to languages such as C++ or Java, which have dedicated debugging and development suites.
- Only supports single inheritance
Some programs may require multiple inheritance, rendering JS unusable for such applications.
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C is one of the oldest programming languages, being created in the 1970s as a general-purpose programming language. It has enjoyed continued support and updates since then, with the next major language standard revision, C23, receiving its most recent draft in April 2023.
- Unlike JS, which is compiled with a just-in-time (JIT) compiler, C is compiled in advance.
- In JS, code doesn’t need to be recompiled when moving it to a different processor, but in C, code must be recompiled beforehand.
- In JS, memory blocks can be handled automatically; in C, they cannot.
If you’re wondering about the differences between these two languages, here they are:
- Both require different plugins.
Next up is Python, which is a high-level, interpreted, object-oriented programming language that uses a simple, easy-to-learn syntax. This simplicity and reduced cost of program maintenance have helped boost Python’s popularity, making it the fourth most commonly used programming language in Stack Overflow’s 2022 survey.
- JS code responds to clicks and keystrokes; Python responds to function calls.
- Both are dynamically typed languages.
Finally, PHP describes itself as a “popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development.” PHP is a language for back-end development only.
- Both allow for dynamically typed variables.
- Both are cross-platform.
It’s also an extremely popular and widely used language, so you can’t exactly go wrong with learning it—with more than 98% of all websites using it, it’s pretty hard not to find a use for it once you learn it!