September 04, 2018

JavaScript, The King Of Modern Application Development




JavaScript(JS) is a programming language of the web. It is commonly used to make the web pages more interactive. Many websites use it to provide more features and improve user experience. All of the browsers that we use today have a dedicated JavaScript engine to execute it.  JavaScript was originally named Mocha and then LiveScript and finally JavaScript.  A common misunderstanding is that JavaScript is similar to Java. They both are different languages. Initially JavaScript was developed as a client-side scripting language but with the invention of Node.js, it can also be used as a server-side language which can be executed without a browser. JavaScript is based on the ECMAScript(ES) specification which standardizes it.
Today JavaScript has become very popular and it keeps expanding its application area. Its use is not limited to the web. Desktop applications, mobile applications can also be created with it. Technology giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft use it to build complex web applications. One of the reasons for its popularity is the availability of vast free and open source frameworks and libraries.
Front end web development can be done using a framework or just plain JS code. Vanilla JavaScript is a term used to indicate a plain JavaScript code without the using any framework or library. Some of the most popular front end JS frameworks are Angular, React.js, Vue.js. These frameworks are used to build Single Page Applications (SPA). SPA is a web application or a web site that interacts with the user dynamically without reloading the entire page from the server. There is a popular JS library called JQuery which is designed to simplify client-side scripting. Famous companies such as Google, Microsoft use Angular in the front end to provide better user experience.
With the help of Node.js, back end development can also be done using JS. Node.js is an open source, cross platform JS run-time environment that executes JS code outside of a browser. It lets the developers use JS to write command line tools and server-side scripts. It uses a package manager called npm. This package manager makes it easier for the developers to publish and share the source code. It also simplifies the process of adding and removing different libraries developed by others. Express.js is one of the popular free and open source server-side frameworks for Node.js. It can be used to create server-side scripts and APIs. Global companies such as Netflix, LinkedIn, NASA use Node.js in their servers.
The power of JS is not limited to the web. It has also conquered mobile application development area.  React Native, Ionic, NativeScript are some of the most trending frameworks currently being used for mobile application development. All of these support both Android and IOS operating systems. The main advantage of these frameworks is that code is written only once and application can be published to any platform desired without having to rewrite the code. The mobile applications of Facebook, Instagram, Skype are using React Native.
Desktop applications can also be developed with JS. Electron is a popular JS framework used to build cross platform desktop applications with JS, HTML and CSS.  Applications can be written using JS and it can be published to Windows, Linux or Mac without having to rewrite the code. It is used in most popular desktop applications such as Visual Studio Code, Atom, Discord and Spotify.
Video games, machine learning, real-time communication and a lot more can be done using JS.  Phaser.js is a HTML5 game framework that can be used to build video games. For machine learning there is a framework called brain.js which is a library of neural networks. Socket.io is a framework that provides for real-time, bidirectional and event-based communication facility. It can be used for instant messaging and real-time analytics.
 JS covers many areas in the software field.  This is mainly due to the fact that there is no real competitor to it. However there are alternative languages such as CoffeeScript, Dart and TypeScript but ultimately they are transpiled to JS in the end. JS keeps evolving every day and it is here to stay for a long time. – Hrishikesha. U, III BCA

Department of Computer Science

Vivekananda college, Puttur D.K

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