JavaScript and its power on web and application development

JavaScript and its power on web and application development

According to the latest report from the German statistics portal Statista, worldwide JavaScript is the most popular programming language with 64.96% of developers using it on their computers. Despite being the most famous and used, JavaScript was born as a complementary language to be executed in web browsers, so its recent irruption in multiple environments for application development is not yet fully debugged. That is the main reason why we have been motivated to expose in detail what is its current impact on the industry and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using JavaScript in the creation of applications of all levels.

A little bit of history

JavaScript was originally created by Netscape with the specific requirement of solving the problems that the applications of the 90's and the delays of the fragile connections of the time produced in users' browsers. With this premise, the engineers at Netscape dedicated many hours of work in order to adapt several pre-existing technologies to develop a programming language executable in its own browser, that is, without the need of a compiler.

This is how the first version of JavaScript was produced, which was named LiveScript, and it achieved the purpose of optimizing the feedback in the interaction between visitors and sites.

For its next version, Netscape formed an alliance with Sun Microsystems and developed what we officially know as JavaScript, which was included in version 3.0 of its browser. Since this language was being implemented as an underlying technology by other browsers at the time, Netscape's management decided to standardize it to avoid a corporate war of technologies that would occupy another branch of development within its organization.

JS today

As Internet technologies evolved dynamically, the passing of time brought with it important improvements that extended the use of JavaScript to other environments not related to the web. This is how today its attributes are used by tools such as Adobe Acrobat, Flex and even Photoshop, the popular image editing software.

In addition, since version 6 of Java, a completely different programming language and alien to JS, includes a package (javax.script) which enables the integration of these two languages through an API capable of creating scripts to improve the runtime performance of certain Java applications.

What can be done with JavaScript?

Currently, JavaScript is the only programming language natively integrated into web browsers, meaning that JS does not need to be compiled so that browser applications can directly read its code and execute its actions. Specifically, it is a scripting language capable of integrating itself into HTML documents for the purpose of validating information and modifying the navigation of website visitors without the need to communicate with the server. This, on the one hand, significantly increases the dynamism and interactivity of websites for users (FrontEnd Development) and, on the other hand, has a positive impact on saving time and resources with respect to the server (BackEnd Development). Now, what can JavaScript do in other environments, specifically in the context of applications? It is clear that JS is a great tool for developing web applications, so we will refer exclusively to downloadable apps for iOS and Android platforms.

Broadly speaking and current JavaScript allows you to create two types of applications:

Hybrid apps

These are nothing more than those applications that need to have the browser integrated within its infrastructure in order to run. This is known as webview mode which is a navigation interface with no other option than the visualization of the pages of the hybrid app. Therefore these apps are created using all available web technologies (HTML + CSS + JS) and are executed as if they were web pages.

Native apps

As you might expect native applications do not run in webview mode, in other words these apps are not a conglomerate of web pages but are fully debugged and compiled applications, just like those developed with other contextual languages.

So, having clear the types of applications that we can create with JS and that thanks to certain runtime environments such as Node.js or AngularJS this language turns out to be a powerful development alternative capable of producing applications that meet market standards, it is time to point out its advantages and disadvantages in every sense.

Advantages of JS

Learning: While JavaScript is not a programming language suitable for beginners, intermediate level developers can usually understand and master it in a few months.

Simplicity: Compared to such a popular language as C++, writing code in JS is noticeably simpler because its syntax is Java-inspired.

Recognition: On a digital level, JavaScript is everywhere so your users will have no problem when they require additional resources or support.

Interoperability: JS can be implemented in all types of applications thanks to its support for other programming languages such as PHP.

Server load: Its demand for server resources is low and, in some cases, null.

Robust interfaces: FrontEnd development with JS provides better user interfaces (UI) and also enhances the user experience (UX).

XMLHttpRequest: Designed by Microsoft in JS this object is invoked as an HTTP request which creates asynchrony on the server to send and receive data on both sides without reloading the pages.

Global acceptance: Many of the most important companies in the world believe in this language, that is the case of Google and Facebook who created AngularJS and React.js respectively.

Versatility: Thanks to Frameworks such as Node.js and ReactJS with JAvaScript it is possible to approach diverse projects from both FrontEnd and BackEnd development.

Performance: By reducing the length of the JS source code, it improves performance in the delivery of websites and applications.

Extended functionality: Thanks to plugins created by third party developers can integrate predefined code snippets to create applications more easily and quickly which translates into saving time and money.

Disadvantages of JS

Security: Since all users are able to see the JS code of the sites, others can use it maliciously.

Compatibility: JS code must be tested on many platforms before being published because some may not support its latest features.

Inheritance: JavaScript does not support multiple inheritance, only single inheritance and this can be a problem in software that requires the object-oriented feature.

Fragility: A single code error is capable of stopping the deployment of all JavaScript code on a web site.

Capacity: Due to the deeply detailed work from a coding point of view creating very large applications with JavaScript can be very complex.

Resources: In some cases there may be a situation where there is no support for the latest API and reverse engineering is needed to implement them.

Flexible nature: This feature can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Unfortunately we interpret it as a disadvantage because JavaScript is not very strict in enforcing its own rules and this can generate bad habits in developers who do not do a careful and neat job.

JavaScript has stood the test of time and has gone much further transcending to other ecosystems if we evaluate it from its initial purpose. For that reason, today it has become an ultra-versatile and very powerful tool for the creation of adaptable software at all levels in the application environment. That is why at DreamCode we specialize in offering comprehensive and cost-effective services through the right human talent for the creation of effective JavaScript solutions to increase the performance of our customers. Learn more here and let us enhance your strategic strengths in the digital domain.