JavaScript is the programming language of the web – everyone knows that. It is JavaScript that manipulates HTML and CSS to create what Internet users experience everyday reading and watching stuff on the web, filling in forms, logging in etc. But it is far less of a common knowledge that this client-side web scripting language has far more applications.

JavaScript, JavaScript everywhere

According to the RedMonk ranking (http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2015/01/14/language-rankings-1-15/) based on popularity on GitHub and Stack Overflow, JavaScript is tied with Java as today’s most used programming language. Its absolute supremacy as a browser programming language and 20 years of growth resulted in a multitude of techniques, libraries and frameworks that have become staple for web developers such as AJAX, jQuery, Underscore.js, Angular.js, or the popular JavaScript-based language-independent data format JSON. JavaScript is responsible for tasks such as hover animations, drop-downs, sliders, suggestions, recommendations, form validation and more. It is also considered relatively easy to learn, which all amounts to a lot of budding developers being interested in learning it. But is also precisely why it is so important to find experienced JavaScript developers – so that you don’t end up with a website or an app full of bugs and lacking in speed. JavaScript’s continuous popularity resulted in many successful attempts to use it outside of its natural browser-based environment. One of them is Node.js – a cross-platform environment for developing scalable applications on the server-side in JavaScript. But there is more.

How about a JavaScript mobile app?

Every time you pick up your smartphone or a tablet, you’re more than likely to come across some JavaScript. And you don’t even have to bother opening your browser. JavaScript is widely used to develop mobile apps too.

It’s beyond any doubt that there is no better way to develop a very effective mobile app than using the native language of its platform: Java for Android, Objective-C/Swift for iOS and Visual Basic/C#/C++ for Windows Phone. If you’re set to build an app for all mobile users, it means, however, the it needs to be developed three times separately. With the HTML, CSS and JavaScript combo, enhanced by a proper cross-platform framework such as the open source Apache Cordova, it is possible to build native apps for any mobile OS. Frameworks such as Quintus or Impact make it possible to create wonderful HTML5/JavaScript mobile games. While such apps lack the benefits of the native code, it may not always matter for a few reasons:

  • HTML, CSS and JavaScript sport powerful features complex layouts and text rending, which have been perfected by browser developers for years. Some of them are not easy to recreate in native mobile languages. Those mature JS solutions follow best practices that substantially close the efficiency gap

  • Development time is an extremely important factor in many projects and making JS apps takes a lot less of it

  • Some apps are simple and small enough that any efficiency differences are hardly noticeable for the user

  • You can make mobile apps having front-end web development background only

Much like mobile apps, JavaScript is used to develop desktop applications as well. Some of the popular solutions that make it possible are TideSDK and Adobe AIR.

JavaScript craze continues

Hardware is another surprising area where JavaScript enjoys more and more attentions. Frameworks such as Cylon.js support popular robotics and physical computing systems such as Arduino, ARDrone, Pebble, Skynet or Raspberry PI. Other popular hardware solutions include Espruino, a JS interpreter capable of manipulating low power microcontrollers.

JavaScript is one of the most widespread programming languages of the IT world, a popular first-choice language, that’s here to stay for a long time. Unfortunately, its tolerant nature (e.g. loose typing) makes it easy to write poorly-optimized programs. The performance of modern web and mobile apps often highly depend on JavaScript That’s why it’s so important to hire expert JavaScript developers, capable of making the most out of it, without relaying on its convenience.