What Is JavaScript Used For?

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by Bethanny Parker

Updated September 15, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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What is JavaScript used for? The primary use for JavaScript is web development. According to Web Technology Surveys, over 95% of websites use JavaScript. This makes JavaScript programming an essential skill for anyone who wants to build websites. JavaScript is used in front-end and back-end development, mobile and web applications, game development, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

So what is JavaScript? JavaScript is a high-level scripting language that conforms to the ECMAScript standard, which ensures that webpages work on any browser. It has first-class functions, object orientation, and dynamic typing. JavaScript has application programming interfaces (APIs) for interacting with standard data structures, regular expressions, dates, text, and the document object model (DOM).

Netscape developed JavaScript for the purpose of allowing webpages to contain dynamic features. The language was called LiveScript in beta, but the name was changed to JavaScript when it was officially released in December 1995.

Keep in mind that throughout this guide, we discuss JavaScript. We won't get into comparing Java vs. JavaScript, but you should know that although they are similar, they are two separate programming languages.

What Are the Main Uses of JavaScript?

What can you do with JavaScript? JavaScript's main use is for front-end web development. JavaScript enables interactivity on the part of the website that the user sees. For example, a programmer could use JavaScript to make an image appear larger when the user points to it with their mouse. Any time a webpage does more than display static information, it is likely that JavaScript is running.

JavaScript can run in the back end as well as the front end. When this happens, JavaScript is working behind the scenes on the things users can't see. For example, programmers can use JavaScript to read from or write to a database.

Programmers can use JavaScript to create web and mobile applications. Mobile app developers typically use JavaScript frameworks such as React Native, Ionic, jQuery Mobile, or Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) to create their mobile apps.

There are also a few game engines that have been designed to work with JavaScript, such as Phaser, Pixi.js, and Babylon.js. These are used to create mobile and web games with JavaScript. Phaser enables the creation of HTML5 games, while Pixi can create other types of interactive digital content. Babylon is used to render 3D games.

The WebXR Device API is a JavaScript API that enables the use of virtual reality (VR) devices in web applications. This API can be used with a variety of devices, such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Gear VR. The WebXR device API captures information from the VR device and allows programmers to use that information in their games or applications.

Although most artificial intelligence (AI) applications use Python or R, JavaScript can be used to execute AI within a browser. There are several JavaScript libraries, such as TensorFlow.js, that have been developed for machine learning and AI. JavaScript has some advantages over Python for AI. For example, it is faster and compiles into machine code.

What Companies Use JavaScript?

Many large companies use JavaScript. Here are a few examples.

Why Use JavaScript Over Other Programming Languages?

There are many reasons to choose JavaScript over other programming languages. The biggest reason is that every major browser contains a JavaScript engine. This makes JavaScript the number one choice for many web applications.

Other reasons to choose JavaScript include the following:

Frequently Asked Questions About JavaScript

How is JavaScript used in real life?

JavaScript is most commonly used for developing websites. Most websites use JavaScript in the front end, and some use it in the back end as well. JavaScript adds interactivity to websites. Programmers use it to create sliders, make images enlarge when you mouse over them, and much more.

Although JavaScript can be used for many other purposes besides web design, it is most commonly used for websites, web applications, and web-based games.

How do I learn JavaScript?

If you're wondering how to learn JavaScript, you'll be glad to learn that it's one of the easiest programming languages to learn. If you want to teach yourself to code, there are many online courses available through sites that offer massive open online courses (MOOCs), such as Coursera, edX, Udacity, and Udemy. You can also find a lot of free YouTube tutorials on JavaScript.

If you need a teacher, a coding bootcamp might be a better option for you. Look for a front-end, back-end, or full-stack web development course. These courses are sometimes called software development or software engineering bootcamps. They usually teach HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Is Python better than JavaScript?

Whether Python or JavaScript is better depends on what you are doing. Python is used more often for data science and machine learning, whereas JavaScript is more often used in web development. Python can be used for back-end web development as well, but it tends to run slower than JavaScript.

Python and JavaScript are both easy to learn, but if you are interested in web development, you should probably learn JavaScript first. Once you have mastered the basics of JavaScript, you might want to learn Python as well. Both are in demand in the workforce.

Should I learn JavaScript or HTML first?

You should probably learn HTML first, followed by CSS, then JavaScript. These languages build on each other. HTML is the markup language that is the foundation of the web. HTML is used to format paragraphs and headings, insert links, and add images and videos. CSS allows you more control over the formatting of the HTML page. You can use it to change the fonts, colors, and spacing of the words on the page.

Once you have mastered HTML and have a firm grasp of CSS, you are ready to learn JavaScript. JavaScript allows you to add interactive elements such as sliders to your webpages.

Feature Image: Ngampol Thongsai / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

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