News / JavaScript has come a long way and shows no sign of slowing

JavaScript has come a long way and shows no sign of slowing

Since its release more than 20 years ago, JavaScript has gone through a lot. But even though it has come so far, the language continues to grow and evolve, and interest in using it is still rising. JavaScript is an incredibly approachable language, which probably has something to do with why it has become so popular among developers. Its robust community continues to add to JavaScript’s rich ecosystem of libraries and frameworks.

Other languages have similar ecosystems, but one thing that has propelled JavaScript forward is debugging capabilities available in TypeScript and Chrome, according to Todd Anglin, vice president of product strategy and developer relations at Progress.

“I think JavaScript is going to be on this journey forever, as long as people find ways to make software easier to create, more robust, and more secure,” Anglin said. “It’s just a continuum.”

Getting more involved with standardization

One positive step that should help advance JavaScript even further is that the community is getting more involved in the standardization process. “Now we’re starting to be having more initiative towards making JavaScript what we want it to be, and I think ECMAScript has a lot to do with that,” said Tara Manicsic, developer advocate at Progress. “And the community being more involved in wanting to make the language better instead of complaining about it is a huge step and is something that’s really great.”

Recently, the JavaScript Foundation announced that it intended to merge with the Node.js Foundation. According to Manicsic, this was a result of so many developers using Node, not just for JavaScript on the back end, but for front end and new technologies from such initiatives as IoT.

“Node is being incorporated more and so you’re seeing more people in the community interested in the foundations merging and trying to see what that means for them as developers,” said Manicsic. “I think they’re starting to realize more just how important standardization is and how important it is to bring the JavaScript communities together from fractured communities.”


JavaScript is on the rise in education

JavaScript is becoming more commonly used as part of the curriculum in many computer science programs at universities. For a while, many universities used Java as their core language, but it’s now more common to see JavaScript or Python being taught. For example, Stanford University recently switched over their introductory computer science course to be taught in JavaScript instead of Java.

“I think we’re going to see more and more universities start to do their curriculum around JavaScript instead of things like Java,” said Manicsic. “Every time somebody wants to learn I always tell them to start with JavaScript because it has the fundamentals and the core concepts of CS in general, and it teaches you how to think logically just like Java, .NET, and C# do, but it’s much more human-readable.”

She believes that because JavaScript is so approachable, more schools will start making it the first step in introducing computer science.

In addition to it being more approachable than some other languages, more and more people are hiring for JavaScript developers, and universities recognize that and want to make sure that they are preparing their students for the real world of web development.

Using JavaScript to power data analytics

JavaScript has even moved beyond simply being a web development language. In the age of Big Data, being able to analyze all of the data that you have is essential and can help you unlock previously unknown insights. Analytics company Cambridge Intelligence has used JavaScript to create a powerful data visualization toolkit.

According to Cambridge Intelligence, data visualization can help expose criminals, reveal suspicious behavior, help mitigate risks, and help fight fraud.

“If I show you the difference effectively from looking at a table like this, to looking at connections of the same data set, then immediately you can see there’s a richness and a lot of information in the connections themselves that you cannot possibly ever find within a spreadsheet,” said Joe Parry, founder and CEO of Cambridge Intelligence.

When people go from looking at data on a spreadsheet to suddenly seeing it laid out in this exciting way, it changes their interest, Parry explained.

While Cambridge Intelligence isn’t the only company providing data visualization tools, it is a testament to the power of JavaScript for being able to run all of this and run it on practically any device.

Source: Jenna Sargent – SD Times