Home / Definitions / JavaScript


Alice Musyoka
Published October 7, 2021 10:25 am

JavaScript is a lightweight programming language used to build and manage dynamic and interactive web elements. It is considered both a client and server-side language. Most popular websites–like Google, Facebook, and YouTube–use JavaScript to convert static web pages into interactive ones. Anything that refreshes, moves, or changes on a web page without requiring a person to manually reload the page uses JavaScript.

How does JavaScript work?

JavaScript can be added to a page’s code using <script> tags with the type attribute text/javascript or as a header file with the extension .js. A web browser then downloads and runs the script, changing it into the dynamic objects and effects seen on a screen.

The multi-paradigm language supports functional, event-driven, and imperative programming styles and reduces a programmer’s cognitive load. When added to an HTML page, it boosts its dynamic interactivity by using the DOM API to dynamically modify HTML and CSS, updating a user interface.

Frameworks and libraries decrease code size and complexity, speeding up project deployment. Some popular JS frameworks include ReactJS, Angular, Vue.js and Bootstrap.

How is JavaScript used in business?

Almost 98% of all websites use JavaScript, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Amazon, and Quora. Here are a few ways businesses use the programming language.

1. Build web and mobile applications

Cross-platform development with JavaScript is quite popular as it allows developers to create mobile apps that can be deployed and downloaded into app stores. JavaScript frameworks like Angular, React. and Vue.js also make it easy to build complex, single page web applications.

2. Add interactive elements to a website

Many developers use JavaScript to make web pages more interactive–by adding animations, multimedia, slideshows, and showing or hiding information.

3. Develop games

The programming language allows developers to render JS code on HTML5 canvas and develop browser-based games. It’s used by developers with access to many frameworks and libraries for web and mobile game development.

4. Build efficient IoT systems

JavaScript’s event-driven nature, end-user scripting, and enhanced security makes it a superb choice for Internet Of Things (IoT) application development. It allows hardware and IoT sensors to respond to data in real time.

JavaScript Features

  • Platform Independent: JavaScript supports cross-platform development, allowing developers to use the same code and run scripts on multiple browsers, operating systems, and devices.
  • Lightweight: Programmers prefer the computer language for its lightweight script processing nature (on the client side). It’s ideal for handling user interactions and implementing dynamic, interactive web content.
  • Dynamic Typing: JavaScript’s dynamic typing features allow programmers to enter data on interactive forms, validate the input, and submit the forms without accessing the server.
  • Functional Style: A rich library of frameworks makes development more efficient, quicker, and cost-effective.
  • Interpreted Language: JavaScript is a front-end and back-end scripting language that needs interpreter engines to generate output. It’s codes are interpreted line by line, so errors can be easily identified during run time.

What are JavaScript’s benefits?

Speed: Scripts execute directly on the client’s browser, not on the website’s server. The just-in-time compilation results in faster processing, higher performance speed, and seamless user experience.

Simplicity: JavaScript is a high-level language that simplifies programming. Its prototype-based structure allows developers to update application features and codes quickly.

Popularity: Over 12 million developers actively use JavaScript. And for the 8th year in a row, it’s been ranked the world’s most popular software development technology.

Interoperability: JavaScript is highly compatible with other programming languages and can easily integrate into web pages, regardless of file extensions. This makes it suitable for multiple applications.

Performance: Programmers can create HTTP servers through NodeJS and provide a faster, event-driven environment. These servers offer robust performance, are scalable, and efficiently execute code.

Read more about Javascript at Developer.com