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Brendan Eich Javascript: Javascript Explained

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JavaScript, or JS, is one of the most popular programming languages in the world today. Developed by Brendan Eich in 1995, JavaScript has earned a place in the modern web development toolkit, with millions of developers relying on this scripting language to power their web applications and websites. But what is JavaScript, and why has it become so pervasive in web development? In this article, we will explore the basics of JavaScript, from its history to commonly used libraries and frameworks, and discover the key features that make JavaScript a must-have for web developers.

What is Javascript?

In the most basic of terms, JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language. It is commonly used in website development, allowing developers to create rich, dynamic user experiences. This can include things like animation, interactive forms, photo galleries and more.

Unlike HTML and CSS, which provide structure and styling to a web page, JavaScript allows users to interact with content. By writing JavaScript code, web developers are able to create features that respond to user input and can be manipulated with simple commands. The resulting websites and applications often feel more natural and intuitive than those using only HTML and CSS.

JavaScript is also used to create mobile applications, as well as desktop applications. It is a versatile language that can be used to create a wide variety of applications, from simple games to complex web applications. Additionally, JavaScript is often used to create interactive elements on websites, such as drop-down menus, sliders, and other interactive elements.

A Brief History of Javascript

The history of JavaScript begins in 1995 with its initial release. Creator Brendan Eich was working at Netscape Communications Corporation, developing a language to be used in the company’s web browser. Originally called Mocha, the language was eventually changed to LiveScript and then renamed once more to JavaScript.

In 1996, JavaScript was submitted to the European Organisation for Standardization (ECMA) and renamed ECMAScript. Since then, new versions of ECMAScript have been released regularly. The most recent version available is ECMAScript 2017, with version 2018 due for release in 2019.

Since its initial release, JavaScript has become one of the most popular programming languages in the world. It is used to create interactive webpages, build web applications, and develop server-side applications. JavaScript is also used in game development, mobile app development, and desktop applications.

Understanding the Basics of Javascript

At its core, JavaScript relies on a few basic concepts that are essential for any programmer. These concepts include variables, data types and functions.

Variables are pieces of data that can be used in programs to store relevant information. Variables can be declared using the keyword “var”, followed by a name for the variable. Variables can also be assigned different types – such as strings and numbers – which can be used in mathematical operations or string manipulation.

Functions are pieces of code that are meant to carry out specific tasks. Like variables, functions must be declared but with the keyword “function”, followed by a name for the function. Once declared, the function’s body can be filled with code that will execute when the function is called.

Javascript Syntax and Semantics

The syntax of JavaScript is easy to learn. Like most programming languages, there are some rules that must be followed. For example, comments must be wrapped in /* */ while variables are declared with the “var” keyword. Statements must end with a semicolon and curly braces must be used for code blocks.

Semantics refer to how code is interpreted by the language. In JavaScript, all statement blocks are evaluated from top to bottom and functions are declared with the “function” keyword. Additionally, some keywords have special meaning in JavaScript such as “this”, which references the object that contains the current code.

Working with Variables in Javascript

As previously mentioned, variables are essential tools in JavaScript programming. Variables can store different types of data such as strings and numbers. They can also store complex objects such as arrays and objects. Variables are declared with the keyword “var” followed by a name.

One important thing to remember when working with variables is that they must be declared before they can be used in a program. This means that if you want to use a variable multiple times throughout your code, you will need to declare it at the start of your script.

Manipulating Data with Javascript

Once variables have been declared, they can be used to perform a variety of tasks. Arithmetic operations are a common example, allowing developers to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers with ease. Additionally, strings can also be manipulated using a variety of methods such as concatenation (combining two strings together) or slicing (selecting portions of a string).

Using Functions in Javascript

Functions are an essential tool in JavaScript programming. They allow developers to group related code together and execute it when necessary. Functions can accept arguments or parameters which can be used by the function body to process data or manipulate variables.

Functions can also return values to the code that called them. This is useful for cases where data needs to be manipulated multiple times throughout a program as the function can perform the same task each time with different input data.

Commonly Used Libraries and Frameworks

Although JavaScript can be used for simple tasks on its own, many developers turn to popular libraries and frameworks to speed up their development process. Libraries such as jQuery are great for manipulating HTML documents on the fly while frameworks such as React are specifically designed for building single-page applications.

These libraries and frameworks have been created by members of the open source community, allowing developers to benefit from the shared code base when building their own applications.

Debugging and Testing with Javascript

As any developer knows, debugging code is an essential part of web development. Without proper testing, developers will never know if their code works as intended.

Thankfully, there are a variety of tools available for debugging JavaScript code. 0 Chrome developer console is commonly used for live debugging while frameworks such as React include their own built-in debugging tools.

Additionally, popular libraries such as jQuery make use of unit testing frameworks such as Jasmine or Mocha which allow developers to explicitly test certain parts of their codebase for bugs.

Developing Applications with Javascript

With all of these tools at its disposal, JavaScript can be used to create virtually any type of web application or website imaginable. Whether you’re creating a blog or a full-fledged ecommerce store, JavaScript can provide powerful tools that make the process easier and faster than ever before.

In addition to the frameworks and tools we have covered in this guide, there are countless other options available such as Node.js (for server-side scripting) or NPM (for managing packages). In short, JavaScript is an incredibly versatile language and can be used for practically any task.

The Future of Javascript

As more and more developers turn to web development as a career path, JavaScript is becoming more popular by the day. With new libraries being released and major browsers providing improved support for cutting-edge features, we are sure to see a surge in the demand for JavaScript developers in the coming years.

JavaScript is also becoming increasingly important for mobile development as many mobile applications are now written using JavaScript frameworks. The possibilities are endless and as new technologies emerge we are likely to see even more exciting developments in the coming years.

Anand Das

Anand Das

Anand is Co-founder and CTO of Bito. He leads technical strategy and engineering, and is our biggest user! Formerly, Anand was CTO of Eyeota, a data company acquired by Dun & Bradstreet. He is co-founder of PubMatic, where he led the building of an ad exchange system that handles over 1 Trillion bids per day.

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