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Understanding the Role of JavaScript in Web Development

The digital world is complex and hard to tackle, and this is especially true for the Internet. The development of key web technologies like JS and the Document Object Model (DOM) has been informed by decades of history, conventions, and technical limitations.

To truly understand web apps, you need to be deeply familiar with their building blocks, and one of the key building blocks of every web app is JS. Sadly, a lot of people don’t understand JavaScript. In this article, we’ll aim to rectify this by taking a deep dive into the history of JavaScript and what it means for web development.

JS: Its History, Capabilities, and Downfalls

It is hard to imagine a world without JS today, but if things had turned out a little differently. JS could’ve been entirely dead at this point. Because JS isn’t a prerequisite for the Internet to function.  JS wasn’t universally supported for a long time, and theoretically, it is possible for any other interpreted language to completely replace JS.

So, how come JavaScript web apps are universally ubiquitous today? How does its history reflect on the language? What features made it popular? We’ll answer all these questions in this section.

The Beginnings of JS

Browsing the Internet wasn’t as simple in the 90s as it is today. When the first internet browser with a graphical interface was released in 1993, it was an important milestone — it enabled non-technical people from browsing and interacting with the web, which was key in its rising popularity.

One of the nascent browsers that entered the scene during that era was the Netscape browser. It quickly took off due to its intuitive design and robust features. However, the web back then had one giant drawback: all pages were static and there were no ways to manipulate or animate the contents of the page once it was fully loaded.

This all leads up to Netscape introducing JavaScript in its browser. A scripting language that enables developers to create responsive websites. The Java in its name is there because the company tried to imitate the style of Java for marketing and ease of adoption. In reality, JS is entirely different from Java.

The Spread of JS

JS didn’t become popular once it was introduced. In fact, for most of the 90s, it was retreating and contracting. This was when Microsoft introduced and popularized Internet Explorer, which used its own proprietary scripting language called JScript. That’s right, back then, the most popular browser didn’t support JS. And if you wanted your non-static website to run on both Netscape’s and Microsoft’s browsers, you essentially had to write the website twice.

This made web development difficult and costly, but sadly, JS came to the rescue. From its early days, JavaScript became an open standard called ECMAScript. Any browser can implement these standards in their browsers and ensure a large degree of compatibility with other browsers. And as Internet Explorer’s share dwindled and Firefox’s and Chrome’s shares rose, JavaScript became virtually the only front-end scripting language.

How Does JS Make Web Apps Possible?

The proliferation of JavaScript and its near-universal support across browsers on every modern platform has been what has made web apps possible, and there are a few reasons for this:

  • Ease of development: a major reason why web apps are viable is due to the ease of development JS environments provided. The JS language draws its strength from being a standardized language and feature set that are supported by all modern browsers. This means that you’ll be able to create apps using JS relatively easily without having to undertake massive porting efforts to make your web app supported across major browsers.
  • Flexibility: JS is a minimal and flexible language. You can expand it and add features to it however you want. Some extensions even add type support to the language. This added flexibility enables developers to use and customize the language for their particular use-cases, which makes creating web apps simpler.
  • Expandability: JS’s structure and supporting tools allow the programs written in the language to expand almost indefinitely with relative ease. And package managers have been created to organize and support this expansion. This means that incredibly rich and complex web apps can be created thanks to JS’s ecosystem.

All of these reasons are why mastery of JavaScript is necessary to build a competent website. There’s no replacement for this essential skill. Thankfully, it isn’t hard to learn once you grasp the basics.

Although, the irregularities in the language might present a challenge for some. Javascript is great to learn if you are really interested but, when it comes to using it for any professional project, It is always suggested to get it done with some professional agencies such Acclaim agency or any other which you can find good and affordable for you. Moreover, if you have already learned it well, you can try your hands on your project, and see how it goes. Be informed that learning JavaScript requires a lot practice.

About the author


Shelly is an avid reader, and the love of reading takes her to content writing eventually. She loves writing on various topics.

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