JavaScript is Everywhere!

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages today. It’s a front-end web development language responsible for dynamic content on websites and web apps. When web users play browser games or fill out forms online they have JavaScript developers to thank for it, as they are more than likely interacting with JavaScript code.

It was created within a span of 10 days in 1995 by a Netscape employee named Brendan Eich. He combined three other languages – Java, Scheme, and Self – in order to create a markup language that does not need to be compiled prior to runtime (due to its interpreted nature). From then on, JavaScript would become one of the web’s pillars.

In fact, it is one of three languages responsible for most of the web content we see online. The other two languages are HTML and CSS. HTML is used to code the structures of websites. CSS determines the layout of web sites, including position, fonts, color and more.

JavaScript, however, is the true difference-maker of today’s web content as it adds dynamic interactivity. It does so by being an object-oriented, interpreted language that is compatible with any browser and operating system.

Some Stats to Look At

There are various programming languages available today. Some are general-purpose, without a single focus. Others are more specific in nature. JavaScript is a language that was created with a single purpose in mind – to function as a glue language for components like multimedia and plugins to be inserted into HTML.

Today, JavaScript is used by 95% of websites. It’s the dominant client-side programming language for any web content. A JavaScript framework called Node.js makes the language compatible with server-side or backend development work. However, this field is dominated by PHP today.

“Virtually every personal computer in the world has at least one JavaScript interpreter installed on it and in active use,” according to JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford. “JavaScript’s popularity is due entirely to its role as the scripting language of the WWW.“

What Makes JavaScript Stand Out?

JavaScript can truly make the difference between cookie-cutter websites and websites that stand out and attract modern, tech-savvy users. This is one of the reasons it’s so popular today. Any web app that has interactivity, movement or is more than a static web page also relies on it.

It also allows for the productivity of overall web design and web development to increase with the use of its automatic scripts. These scripts are often tied to the many frameworks available for JavaScript and allow for code to be automated.

JavaScript founder Brendan Eich noted four aspects of JavaScript as his favorite features. They include:

– First-class functions
– Closures
– Prototypes
– Object literals and array literals

In all reality, these features and many others make the language stand out and be accessible.

The three languages Eich was influenced by when he created JavaScript continue to be felt within the language’s syntax. For instance, Self is responsible for JavaScript’s inheritance and Scheme is responsible for JavaScript’s closures. Java has probably the least influence of all three and shares similarity in mostly just its name.

JavaScript’s scripted nature and accessibility even for non-developers are what make the language truly special. Its object-oriented nature combined with a markdown syntax makes is one of the keys to its success in the long term.

Let us briefly examine how the language’s outstanding features came to be and originally formed.

Why JavaScript Was and Still Is Relevant

In the mid-90s at Netscape, a scripted language was suggested to fulfill the needs of the Netscape browser and allow designers or non-developers to create web content. What was needed was a simple, dynamic and accessible language for a wide audience. It started out being called Mocha, then LiveScript and finally JavaScript. Sometimes it’s also referred to as ECMAScript.

The language is quite powerful for being created just in a 10-day span. Thus, it’s very efficient and quick to implement. Without it ever being devised way back during the Web’s early days at Netscape, we may never have gotten the interesting animations and interactions we take for granted today.

Many developers may even forget to credit JavaScript for making their workloads easier to manage and speed up overall development. There are many reasons to learn JavaScript and as the web evolves and companies aim to increase their web presence with unique content, JavaScript too will evolve (alongside ECMAScript) and remain on top.