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A Simple Explanation For The Popularity Of Javascript

Lately everyone seems to be writing full-stack apps almost entirely in Javascript. When I started working with Node.js and Socket.io, I quickly figured out why. This list of Javascript resources explains it best.

A Simple Explanation For The Popularity Of Javascript

You’ve probably heard people throw computer languages around. And you probably know that apps are often language soups, incorporating components written differently for different functions. But what you may not realize is that Javascript is quietly taking over the web.

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This isn’t intuitive. Today’s web is heavily fragmented across device, screen size, and browser, which is why it’s generally unwise to commit to a particular technology. Lately, however, more and more large organizations are trusting their development to Javascript.

For better or worse, writing all your code in one language blurs the lines between development of front-end, back-end and deployment. And it’s the style of development pioneered by startups that is quickly becoming prevalent in bigger companies. You can see why: This new paradigm saves time and lets developers concentrate on what they like do the most. That is, building products and solving problems instead of following rigid processes.

Why People Feel Safe With Javascript

JavaScript works on all devices and in all browsers, pretty much guaranteeing that your HTML page will always render. It can be used for everything and new JavaScript tools and frameworks seem to be everywhere.

There are front-end development frameworks, such as Ember.js, AngularJS, and Backbone.js, and template engines, such as Jadejs.

There are also great back-end frameworks, such as the Web Application Framework Express for Node and realtime app framework engine.io for transporting real time information using different methods, plus testing frameworks using JS libraries, such as Mocha or Should.js. Task automation can be done with Grunt, the Javascript task runner, and the list goes on and on and on. And the NPM Registry for Node Packaged Modules is the official package manager for Node.js, making it easier for developers to share their projects and code together, not to mention bower which helps distribute reusable components.

Many MVC libraries and template engines have been created giving Javascript an awareness of the design patterns we all know from Object-Oriented Programming, the sort practiced for some native software development like Apple’s Objective-C language. And as more Web developers embrace HTML5, they’re finding JavaScript frameworks to support many of the new, interactive media and real-time features.

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The Best Thing Happening With Javascript Now Is Node.js

Node.js is a server-side engine (just like PHP, ASP, and .NET) designed for writing scalable Internet applications, specifically web servers. It could have been written using any programming language, but it ended up in JavaScript.

In 2009, Node.js creator, Ryan Lienhart Dahl, set out to build websites with push capabilities similar to what he saw in Google’s Gmail application. Interestingly, he chose to work in JavaScript not for what it had, but for what it lacked–an I/O API. This left him room to define a “convention of non-blocking, event-driven I/O” that became Node.js.

Most JavaScript programs execute in a web browser, but Node.js executes on the server-side. This has the distinct advantage of allowing one developer, or a single small team, to work on both front-end, back-end at the same time.

[Image: Flickr user Josh Evnin]

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