Why JavaScript is Your Friend

Not just the programming language of hipsters at Starbucks.

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3 min read

As is the case with many other things on the internet, it has become increasingly fashionable to dunk on JavaScript for its numerous quirks and setbacks. Whether it is the lack of type safety or its odd behavior with string addition or concatenation, JavaScript can be an odd language for sure.

Oddities aside, JavaScript is a widely-used programming language that has been around for over two decades. It has evolved from a simple scripting language used to add interactive elements to websites to a powerful, multi-purpose language used for both front-end and back-end development. However, like any language, JavaScript has its own set of pros and cons that should be considered when deciding whether or not to use it for a particular project.

Ubiquity - One of the major pros of JavaScript is its ubiquity. It is the only programming language that runs on both the client and the server, making it the ideal choice for building full-stack web applications. This means that developers can use the same language to create both the front-end and the back-end of an application, making the development process more efficient and streamlined. Furthermore, JavaScript has a wide range of libraries and frameworks available such as React, Angular, Vue, and many others - allowing for increased efficiency and productivity.

Flexibility - Perhaps JavaScript's biggest selling point is its flexibility. It can be used for a wide range of tasks, from simple scripting to building complex web applications. More common use cases include - adding interactive elements to a website(such as forms and animations), as well as creating powerful, data-driven applications using popular libraries like React and Angular. Additionally, Javascript has also been used to power the growth and development of technologies such as React Native, which allows developers to build mobile apps using JavaScript and React.

JavaScript is also an interpreted language, meaning that it doesn't need to be compiled before it can be executed. This can be seen as a pro because it allows for faster development, as developers don't need to wait for the code to be compiled before testing it. Furthermore, with the advent of JIT (Just-in-time) compilers, the performance of JavaScript has greatly improved in recent years.

In the interest of being balanced, one of the major cons of JavaScript is its lack of static typing. JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, which means that variables do not have to be declared with a specific data type. This can make it difficult to catch errors and bugs in the code, as they may not appear until runtime. It can also make it harder to understand the code, especially for developers who are used to working with statically typed languages like Java or C#.

Another con of JavaScript is its inconsistent behavior across different browsers. The same piece of code may behave differently in different browsers, and developers need to take this into account when writing their code. This can make it more difficult to ensure that an application will function properly across all browsers and can increase the amount of testing and debugging required.

Finally, JavaScript has been criticized for its callback-based model of handling asynchronous code. Callbacks make it harder to reason about the control flow of the program and can lead to callback hell. However, with the introduction of Async and Await, the way to handle asynchronous code has been made more readable and easy to use.

With all of that said, JavaScript is a powerful and versatile programming language with a wide range of uses. However, it also has its own set of cons, such as its lack of static typing and inconsistent behavior across different browsers. Developers need to weigh the pros and cons and decide if JavaScript is the right choice for their particular project. The language has evolved a lot over the years and many of the cons that existed before can now be handled using more advanced methodologies. Nevertheless, as always, the final decision will depend on the specific use case and the development team's expertise and preferences.

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