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What is the Javascript programming language?

Get ready to discover why JavaScript has become one of today’s most popular programming languages for building in the cloud!

Jun 08, 2023 • 5 Minute Read

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  • Software Development
  • javascript

In this post from our Programming Languages for the Cloud series, we’ll get familiar with the robust and versatile programming language JavaScript. Read on to find out about JavaScript’s history, use cases, and reasons you’ll want to learn it. Get ready to discover why JavaScript has become one of today’s most popular programming languages for building in the cloud!


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History of JavaScript

In 1995, Brendan Eich created JavaScript for Netscape Navigator, the dominant web browser at the time. JavaScript allowed web developers to make websites more dynamic, changing visual elements on the screen in real time as users interacted with the site. During JavaScript's first six months, there were multiple name changes. It was originally called Mocha and then LiveScript before being named JavaScript. 

Fun fact: despite its name, JavaScript is actually not related to the Java programming language. The name came about through a partnership that existed between Netscape and Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java. 

Today, JavaScript has evolved into much more than just a scripting language for the web. It is a robust and versatile language that can be used in a variety of different ways, so whether you prefer imperative programming, a more object-oriented style, a functional approach, or even an event-driven model, you can do it all in JavaScript.

What can I use JavaScript for?

JavaScript is a workhorse. It can:

  • Add dynamic and interactive content to websites

JavaScript remains #1 when it comes to adding dynamic and interactive content to websites. Today it drives almost every page on the internet and is almost as essential to the web as HTML. 

  • Build web and mobile apps

JavaScript is also used to build fully-featured web-based applications and mobile apps. 

  • Write server-side code

JavaScript isn't just client-side anymore—it's now often used to write server-side code as well. 

  • Video game development

Thanks to its versatility and ability to run on many different kinds of devices, JavaScript even has a major role in developing video games. 

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Why is JavaScript so popular?

According to the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, JavaScript is the most widely used programming language. Let’s take a look at why that is:

  • Universality

One reason for JavaScript’s popularity is the central role it plays when it comes to the web: JavaScript is everywhere and is supported by all widely used web browsers. Many developers first become familiar with JavaScript through their experiences in web development, and then continue to use the language for other kinds of projects.

  • Easy to learn

JavaScript is a relatively easy language to get started with. It's pretty simple for a beginner to do things like print “hello world” or add some dynamic elements to a webpage, so the barrier to entry is low.

  • Versatility

Another reason JavaScript is so popular is its versatility. JavaScript is fairly open and unrestricted compared to languages like Java, C#, and Go. This makes it easy to code with JavaScript in a variety of programming styles and in different scenarios. You can use JavaScript for both the frontend and backend parts of your applications. 

  • Community and resources

JavaScript has a large, helpful community and many powerful and robust libraries and frameworks to work with. Whether you want to make a website, server-side application, or a game, you will find framework and community support that can help you along the way.  

JavaScript cloud compatibility

If you're programming in the cloud, all of the major platforms prioritize support for JavaScript. JavaScript is especially powerful in the context of serverless offerings like AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and GCP’s Cloud Functions.

Why should I learn JavaScript?

JavaScript is essential to the web. If you want to do any kind of web development, you will likely need to use JavaScript. But, it’s also a very useful language outside of the web browser. If you're familiar with JavaScript, you can use it to build all kinds of applications. 

If you still need more convincing, the 2020 Stack Overflow Developer Survey lists the median salary for a JavaScript developer in the US at $112k a year. So, if you're looking to learn a programming language that’s powerful, versatile, and cloud-ready, JavaScript is a great choice. 

Get started with JavaScript

Ready to begin your JavaScript journey? Check out The Modern JavaScript Tutorial and ACG’s Introduction to JavaScript course!
That’s all the JavaScript for now! Stand by for more installments from our Programming Languages for the Cloud series. In the meantime, start your ACG free trial or check out this month’s free cloud training. You can also subscribe to A Cloud Guru on YouTube for weekly cloud news, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and join the conversation on Discord.