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Learn Javascript Fundamentals: A Quick Guide for Beginners

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Javascript is an incredibly powerful programming language that enables developers to bring interactivity to their websites allowing users to engage with the web in a dynamic and interesting way. Whilst it can seem daunting, Javascript doesn’t have to be difficult to understand. This article will provide a quick overview of Javascript fundamentals, discussing its benefits and outlining tips and tricks to help you transition from a code novice to an expert in no time.

What is Javascript?

Javascript is a scripting language used mainly for web development. It’s a high-level language, meaning it’s relatively easy for coders to learn as the syntax uses language constructs like if statements, for loops, and functions that developers are already accustomed to from other languages.

Javascript runs natively in all major web browsers so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues. Along with HTML and CSS, Javascript forms the core trifecta of web development languages. It’s an interpreted language, meaning that Javascript code can be directly run in the browser without needing to be pre-compiled. The dominant implementation of Javascript is called ECMAScript, which is managed by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA).

Javascript is a versatile language that can be used to create interactive web pages, build dynamic user interfaces, develop mobile applications using frameworks like React Native, and even create games. It is often used in combination with HTML and CSS to create complex, responsive web pages. For developers looking to build engaging, real-time web experiences, Javascript is a great choice.

Benefits of Javascript

Using Javascript offers many benefits for web developers:

  • Versatility – Javascript can be used for front-end, back-end, mobile, and game development.
  • Interactivity – Easily add dynamic behavior to websites, creating engaging user experiences.
  • Popular Frameworks – Javascript enables popular frameworks like React, Angular, and Node.js.
  • Active Community – As the most used programming language, Javascript has a wealth of learning resources.
  • Full Stack Development – Javascript can be used on both front-end and back-end.
  • Easy to Learn – Javascript has a relatively simple syntax familiar to many developers.
  • Cross-Platform – Javascript code will run seamlessly across different browsers and operation systems.

How to Use Javascript

The basic syntax of Javascript is relatively straightforward even for beginners. Here’s what you need to start writing Javascript:

  • A browser – Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.
  • A text editor – Popular free options include Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime Text

Once set up, you can write Javascript code and add it to an HTML document by wrapping it in <script> tags:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>

  <script>
    
    // Javascript code goes here
    
  </script>

</body>
</html>

Let’s look at some examples of Javascript code:

Update HTML content

document.getElementById("header").innerHTML = "Welcome!";

This dynamically changes the content of the element with id “header” to say “Welcome!”.

Handle click events

document.getElementById("button").onclick = function(){
  // Do something when button clicked  
};

This runs the callback function when the button is clicked.

Simple math

let x = 5;
let y = 3;
let sum = x + y; // 8

This shows variables, assignment, and arithmetic in Javascript.

Key Javascript Concepts

When learning Javascript, get familiar with these core concepts:

  • Variables – Store data values like strings, numbers, booleans
  • Data Types – Strings, numbers, booleans, arrays, objects
  • Functions – Reusable blocks of code for common tasks
  • Events – Respond to user interactions like clicks
  • DOM Manipulation – Dynamically modify HTML and CSS using the DOM API
  • Operators – Math, logical, and comparison operators
  • Conditions – If/else statements and loops to control program flow
  • Arrays – Ordered collections of data like lists
  • Objects – Unordered collections of key-value pairs

Mastering these fundamentals will give you a strong base for Javascript development.

Helpful Javascript Libraries

Some of the most popular libraries in Javascript include:

  • jQuery – Easy DOM manipulation, AJAX calls, animation.
  • React – Build interactive UIs and SPAs using components.
  • Node.js – Write Javascript server-side code.
  • Three.js – Create 3D, VR, and game graphics.

These libraries provide pre-built tools that simplify complex tasks.

Conclusion

Javascript is an essential language for web development given its ubiquitous browser support. With its versatile features, active community, and ease of learning, Javascript is a great choice for beginner and experienced developers looking to build interactive, dynamic web experiences. Start with the fundamentals, leverage libraries, and you’ll be creating engaging Javascript-powered websites in no time.

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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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