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The Pros and Cons of JavaScript: Is it Still Necessary?

December 21, 2013 IADT General, Web Design and Development 0 Comments

The Pros and Cons of JavaScript: Is it Still Necessary?JavaScript has become a favorite for many up-and-coming Web developers in recent years, but is it still relevant? Now that JavaScript has reached adulthood — it debuted 18 years ago — many developers are wondering whether JavaScript has a place in modern programming. Then there are others who continue to laud JavaScript, even suggesting it might take over the programming world. So, is it coming or going? Let's tackle the pros and cons of JavaScript to find out.

JavaScript: The Pros

Just about everyone who works with JavaScript agrees that speed is the language's greatest advantage. JavaScript deploys as a client-side application, so it does not need to wait on the server to run; it is ready as soon as the browser is. As a client-side language, JavaScript also allows for a reduced load on the servers, which can be important for heavily-trafficked sites.

Another advantage to JavaScript is that, unlike PHP or SSI scripts, JavaScript can be worked into any type of Web page. There is no need to change the file extension and re-work the page if JavaScript is to be added. Developers can drop in JavaScript as needed. JavaScript is not only simple to work into existing sites, but is relatively easy to learn; its syntax is similar enough to English that most people can pick it up quickly.

Finally, JavaScript is important to learn because it is ubiquitous. It's present in millions of websites and is one of the languages most learned and recognized by developers. The fact that so many people are still learning, using and developing JavaScript shows that it is relevant to modern Web programming.

JavaScript: The Cons

The biggest argument against JavaScript is that it can be easily exploited. People with malicious intent can compromise JavaScript without much trouble. Many savvy users disable JavaScript because they know about its security flaws. This means that developers need to take care when coding so that the scripts they write are not too easily disrupted.

Another one of JavaScript's disadvantages is that it isn't always the same for all users. As previously mentioned, some people disable JavaScript, but it can also render differently depending on the user's browser. These quirks can hamper the user's experience on your website. Make sure to test your scripts in multiple browsers and in several versions of those browsers before deploying your code.

Because of JavaScript's fairly low bar to entry, some developers think that programmers who learn through JavaScript lack the critical thinking and problem solving skills that a programmer needs to be successful. If you only learn JavaScript, you won't learn about caching, optimizing, scaling or other critical concepts for Web developers. Fortunately, this problem can be overcome by rounding out your skill set. If you're just starting out as a programmer, JavaScript is a great place to start, but you need to ensure that you have relevant skills and can work in several languages.

Do You Need JavaScript?

Like all Web development issues, the pros and cons of JavaScript are still evolving. Some see the death of JavaScript on the horizon, but others are working to ensure its continued health. The JavaScript community is evolving and continues to create solutions to JavaScript's problems. It is ultimately a useful language and has many applications for all types of Web developers.

Image source: Flickr.

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