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JavaScript is one of the core programming languages used across the Internet. It's used by over 97% of all websites to deliver dynamic visuals, features, and experiences.


Every time a web page displays or interacts with a user or another system, that behavior is due to JavaScript in the web page.

What is it?

A programming language primarily originally used to create dynamic and interactive elements on web pages, which has evolved and is now used as a general purpose language.


What’s in it for you?

It’s a widely used language, ensuring that JavaScript developers are highly available.

What are the trade-offs?

The rate at which JavaScript frameworks and libraries gain and lose popularity can make long-term planning difficult.

How is it being used?

JavaScript is used to create and deliver dynamic elements across the vast majority of the world’s websites.

What is JavaScript?


JavaScript is a programming language that’s widely used to create and configure dynamic elements on web pages. That could be anything from embedded video players to animated images and pop-out elements. It's one of the standard web technologies that form the foundation of most web pages. However, although it began as a browser-based language, it has now expanded beyond that, to server side and mobile development.


The programming language also forms the foundations for many other popular technologies. TypeScript, for example, extends JavaScript and is widely used as an enhanced JavaScript, while Node.js is a platform that allows you to write JavaScript on the server. React.js is a popular framework for developing web applications with JavaScript.

What’s in it for you?


As the programming language behind the vast majority of all dynamic web elements, using JavaScript is helpful if you want to deliver the visually striking and engaging web experiences that today’s customers expect.


JavaScript’s monopoly on the browser has led it to become one of the most popular programming languages, according to multiple rankings. It’s also a vibrant ecosystem, with a diverse range of frameworks and tools available, offering developers a range of different ways to build software quickly.

What are the trade-offs of using JavaScript?


The popularity of JavaScript means that there are a lot of frameworks for development teams to choose between. Churn between these frameworks has historically been high, creating new costs and maintenance challenges when one falls out of favor.


There are also some security considerations teams need to make when using JavaScript. With JavaScript in the browser, code can be viewed by users, which makes it easy to manipulate and undermine. The language can also be interpreted differently by different web browsers, which can increase the cost of delivering consistent experiences for users across device and browser types.


In part because of its ubiquity and ease-of-approach,  the JavaScript community has suffered “supply chain” abuse. For instance, an open source developer updated a JavaScript library as a form of protest against the war in Ukraine, which caused the library to delete files on the user’s machine if it thought the user was in Russia. 


Many technology leaders criticize developers for over-using JavaScript, using it in places where simpler,web technologies are a superior alternative. Over-use of JavaScript leads to websites being harder to maintain and enhance, slower to download to users, and sluggish when running - particularly on mobile and older machines.


JavaScript has an early history of questionable design decisions, which cannot be fixed without breaking existing software. Many technology leaders say this makes the language harder to learn and work with compared with other popular languages, which can increase development costs.


Lastly, JavaScript is not a particularly energy efficient programming language, which means that JavaScript requires more CPU cycles (energy/electricity) than compiled programming languages like Java. This makes JavaScript a less green choice, especially when looking at the server side.

How is JavaScript being used?


JavaScript is used to create and deliver dynamic elements across the majority of the world’s websites. It’s also used to create web and mobile apps, and while building web servers. This dominance on browsers has made it popular in other contexts too.


Many development teams use it for server-side software so they can use the same language (although the benefits of doing that are open to dispute). Its popularity has led some tool vendors to support customizing their tools with JavaScript.

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