What Is JavaScript and How Does It Work?

If you’re working in web development, you probably know about javascript. It’s the magic behind many dynamic features that you might take for granted on websites and web applications. For example, if you click a button and a dropdown menu appears or if the page slowly fades into view, that’s javascript in action. It’s also used for interactive applications, such as chatbots and image editors that run in the browser. It’s even used for back-end web development to manage server-side tasks. But what is javascript exactly, and how does it work?

Developed for Netscape Navigator in 1995, javascript is the language that powers all modern web browsers. It’s a scripting language that allows developers to add dynamic functionality to webpages and applications without having to rely on other programming languages. It’s widely considered one of the most powerful languages available for front-end and full-stack web development, and it has grown into a powerhouse that is being used throughout the world in various ways.

JavaScript is a compiled scripting language, meaning it’s compiled into machine code at the moment it’s executed. This is known as just-in-time compilation and results in fast and dynamic functionality. Other languages, such as C and C++, use ahead-of-time compilation and are slower.

The language’s syntax is based on the object-oriented programming model and uses curried functions. It has an array type for storing values, a set function for manipulating data, and a range function for finding data in an array. It also supports nested functions and provides for automatic memory management through garbage collection. The var keyword is reserved for declaring variables in the ECMAScript script, while the this keyword is used to denote an object’s scope in a function call.

Aside from providing dynamic functionality, javascript also helps to make webpages more responsive and user-friendly by adding animations and other visual elements. It’s commonly used to create single-page applications, which are web pages that are designed as an interactive experience instead of a series of separate HTML files. This includes modals that open or close when clicked, scrolling effects, and other interactions.

It’s also used to add dynamic features to web applications and browser games. The most popular online games are powered by javascript, and a variety of other interactive applications, including project management tools, calculators, and real-time communication apps like Slack, all use the technology.

In the future, javascript will continue to grow in popularity and serve as the foundation for more and more aspects of our digital lives. We’re already starting to see the effects in our daily lives—think Facebook timelines that update automatically or the way Google suggests search terms when you start typing a word. In addition to providing more functionality, javascript is becoming increasingly popular for back-end web development and managing server-side tasks.

It’s a great time to become familiar with the language and see how it can benefit your organization. Take a look at our comprehensive beginner’s guide to learn the basics of javascript, or read up on best-practice idioms and patterns.