Javascript – an Introduction for Non-programmers

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Just about everyone who has ever spent time on the internet has come across JavaScript. Unless you are a tech-savvy programmer, or a computer geek of any stripe, you probably only have a very vague clue – if any clue, at all – what JavaScript actually is. It is one the of the least understood, yet most used, computer programming languages seen today.

Screen with JavaScript code

Screen with JavaScript code

The main idea behind JavaScript is to add an interactive element to HTML-based web pages. JavaScript is rather simple to use when compared to its bigger brother Java, which is a C++ coding language. JavaScript is embedded directly into HTML pages, which is another reason it is so simple to use (though some investment is required to learn the program, which can be done through the use of online tutorials).

But I’m not a Programmer…

The vast majority of HTML users are not heavy programmers; thanks to JavaScript’s simplicity, these users can put small parts of JavaScript code into their web pages. JavaScript is useful in the fact that it drastically reduces processing time, can predict a visitors browsing program and load the page that would be best for the browser. It is also able to create cookies and thus track visitor and user data online and JavaScript can react to what a visitor does on the page and thus introduce unique elements to a page that would not otherwise have them.

Open Source

Another reason for JavaScript’s dominance and popularity among programmers and HTML users alike is the fact that a programming license is not needed to use it. It is free to whoever wants to use it. JavaScript also does not need constant downloads in order to remain viable, thus it lasts for a long time and the quality stays consistent. Some of the most common uses for JavaScript are for the creation and tabulation of visitor polls, quizzes and other similar web site features.

Wide Acceptance

The reason for JavaScript’s popularity is because it is easily interpreted by all of the major web page browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, FireFox, etc.); better yet, JavaScript is a default setting, which means no hassle. Most JavaScript programming is also pre-written, which means a user does not actually have to learn the exact programming language and can rather just copy and paste pre-written code to use on web pages.

The program also does not need any special writing program in order to work. The code can actually be written using any standard word processing system, including Microsoft Word or even Note Pad. One thing to keep in mind is that JavaScript does go by other names, such as Mocha, Live Script, J Script and ECMA Script.

Nothing’s Perfect

While JavaScript does have many beneficial uses, it has its own quirks and problems just like every other computer programming language on the planet. One of the largest design problems in the language is the use of semi-colons in the programming language. The use of semi-colons accounts for a lot of the problems that users experience in JavaScript, and results in “clunky” programming.

Some Early Bugs

When JavaScript first came out, it had many bugs that reflected poorly on the programming language. Since then, most of the bugs have been addressed and the program runs much more smoothly. One problem that many people new to the program will figure out quite quickly is that the program is very difficult to understand through reading instructions.

While many hard-core coders view JavaScript as a tool only used by amateurs, it really does take a educated programmer to unlock its depths. Recently, JavaScript has taken on a new life as one the primary programming tools used for blogs and other similar web site projects. To this day, JavaScript remains one of the most popular and most used computer programming languages in existence. It is also one of the most underutilized…

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