Why the Software of the Future Will Be Written in JavaScript

A website or software application is simply logical commands enabled by hundreds of lines of code working together to deliver the desired functionality to the intended end-user. For most software engineers and web developers, any number of programming languages, from Python and Ruby to C++ and Java, are used to carry out the task at hand.

Developers have their choice of languages to bring their requirements to customer. This will change in the future as the languages become more similar.

However, this is likely to change in the very near future. Many of us in the community are willing to just come out and say it — JavaScript is the future of software and web development, and trends are developing throughout today’s industry that prove it. For example, recent industry surveys have shown JavaScript is not only growing in popularity like hotcakes, but it is actively eating away at the seemingly timeless languages like C#, C++, and Java.

This trend is paired with a growing number of industry-leading firms rapidly adopting JavaScript. To highlight the numerous ways that JavaScript is eating away at traditional software approaches, let’s explore how this transition is happening and what it means for engineers of the future.

Technology’s Biggest Brands are Shifting to JavaScript

Many of the world’s leading technology firms are rapidly making the shift to JavaScript. These companies include Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, LinkedIn, Google, Uber, Slack, and more.

Apps using NodeJS that you may have heard of:

  • Netflix Web App
  • LinkedIn Backend
  • Paypal
  • Medium’s Main App Servers

In fact, some have reported: “PayPal dev[eloper]s were able to write 33% fewer lines of code and use 40% fewer files while building the app twice as fast despite doing so with fewer people. Response time decreased by 35% which resulted in the pages being served 200ms faster.”. See source

This shift is primarily due to web-based content and design starting to become increasingly pervasive in our modern world, representing an unavoidable trend as the power of information technology continues to increase exponentially.

Most modern tech companies use JavaScript in some way to develop their applications.

As the infrastructure of the web becomes an increasingly common part of everyday software, so too will the need for skilled JavaScript developers. As of today, JavaScript is the only language that is considered to be native to modern web browsers. In practice, this means that if a business is going to create a great web application (as an increasing number of big tech companies are starting to do), they will have to have access to a highly-skilled team of JavaScript developers.

JavaScript is Accessible for New (and Existing) Engineers

Engineers who have done both front and back end development usually already know it. A 2018 survey of developers by StackOverflow shows JavaScript as the most widely used programming language by users of their platform.

While JavaScript is often complicated for veteran developers to adjust to initially, it can be an approachable means for newcomers to learn how to program quickly and effectively.

JavaScript Supports:

  • Object-oriented programming
  • Functional programming
  • Test-driven development
  • Code coverage tools
  • Asynchronous programming
  • Promises with Async / Await

If you use TypeScript instead (a superset of Javascript), you also get:

  • Class inheritance
  • Type annotations and inference
  • Interfaces
  • Enums and Namespaces

Rather than spending weeks studying the ins-and-outs of the language, people learning JavaScript are often able to pick up the basics quickly (sometimes in a matter of hours).

Most veteran developers already know JavaScript or are familiar with its concepts from other languages. Many newcomers find it easy to learn.

Those looking to become engineers can get a taste of what the practice is really like through the rapid adoption of its basic tenants. While we should note that learning JavaScript quickly is not the same thing as becoming a great developer overnight, rapid learning has advantages to the industry of tomorrow.

As the world’s need for knowledgeable web-based application developers continues to grow, so too will the need for beginners to be able to pick-up-and-go, instead of spending four or more years covering topics that don’t align with their career goals. A four-year degree in computer science is great, but I can teach someone enough JavaScript to be dangerous in just a few months.

This presents a benefit to employers, who will save money by getting more out of their greener developers sooner.

Versatility in Frameworks

With dozens of big technology companies and dedicated open-source developers pushing out new and improved JavaScript frameworks every year, developers are always ensured to have access to the best tools available. Most of these new technologies fall under the umbrella of frameworks, which are traditionally defined as a specialized piece of software that can be used as the foundation for a number of different applications.

The numerous JavaScript libraries and frameworks allow for less custom code.

These packages are often written on top of a language itself — for example, Angular is written in of TypeScript. In practice, this means that a framework like Angular is specialized enough to excel in a certain area of application development, while at the same time being approachable enough for someone who already uses JavaScript to pick it up easily.

Throughout today’s industry, popular frameworks like Express, and Mocha testing are changing the game. As they all have a specific focus, it can be hard to mesh them together in a way that is intuitive. However, this is the hidden beauty of frameworks, as they allow an augmented version of JavaScript to become more useful for many development tasks.

On the other hand, libraries such as Mocha, which are pieces of pre-built software that can be easily incorporated within a greater development project, compliment frameworks by allowing modern developers to save time and effort when faced with things like testing.

The benefit of JavaScript’s libraries lies in the fact that developers need not waste time creating functionality that has already been solved by another programmer. Instead, they can leverage the open-source and collaborative nature of the JavaScript community to make amazing apps for their customers — all while contributing to the greater community through creating their own custom libraries in the process.

The Future of Software Development is JavaScript

As we have seen, JavaScript is a supremely versatile and modular programming language that is quickly becoming one of the most popular languages at the world’s top technology companies. Providing a shallow learning curve for novice developers, it has the potential to help the technology industry solve its increasingly concerning talent shortage while simultaneously making the world of software development more accessible to all.

We had better start getting used to looking at JavaScript.

The unrivaled simplicity of JavaScript is complemented by a vast selection of frameworks and libraries that help to make this language an excellent choice for almost any development task. If your firm has yet to start the transition to JavaScript, we highly suggest this process begin immediately, as this increasingly popular framework is set to become the standard for marketing sites, web applications, desktop applications, and much more.

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