Why Javascript is preferred over Java in web development?

Introduction

When it comes to web applications, developers are spoilt for choices. With way too many languages and frameworks, one tends to ponder which one would be the right one to choose for a given application. In the recent past, the debate of Java vs JavaScript is taking mainstream. According to us, JavaScript is rapidly overtaking Java, which would be the one language that a web developer should learn. In this blog let us do a deep dive of top 5 reasons why JavaScript is the choice over Java

JavaScript has a very rich and fascinating history. It was created by Brendan Eich (co-founder of Mozilla) during his time at Netscape Communications in 1995. Originally called Mocha (a name chosen by Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape). It’s inspired by Java. In Sep 1995, JavaScript name was changed to LiveScript. Then in Dec 1995, upon receiving a trademark license from Sun, the name JavaScript was adopted. The general-purpose JavaScript engine had been embedded in web browsers (Netscape, IE, etc.). The ECMA-262 (European Computer Manufacturers Association) Specification defined a standard version of JavaScript language. There have been multiple editions of JavaScript, details are provided below.

· ECMAScript Edition 1 is the first standardized version of JavaScript.

· ECMAScript Edition 2 is the second official standard, in order to make JavaScript implementation more standard by different vendors.

· ECMAScript 3 (ES3) was released on December 1999. A more advanced version of the language, by including regular expressions and exception handling.

· ECMAScript 4 (ES4) added support for features such as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) & class-based object-oriented programming.

· ECMAScript 5 (ES5) was released on December 2009. It added features for robust programming via a strict mode and a better way to handle JSON.

· ECMAScript 6 (ES6) was released on June 2015 and is the latest official version of JavaScript. It has added more backend features that can be used in a runtime environment like Node.js.

When JavaScript was introduced it was perceived just like an extra option that Netscape added to its browser. Many programmers initially dismissed it, but later on, they noticed it’s forward-thinking features such as lambdas and functions as first-class objects until it brought them to the mainstream. Now after 20 years, everything has changed. Web applications are the most prevailing medium for people to interact with the computing world. Here JavaScript has emerged as the foundation for modern-day web applications. It is currently used by 94.5% of all websites and more server applications are also written using JavaScript.

As called out in the introductory section, JavaScript has originally introduced as a front-end interpreted language. Its main goal is to bring interactivity with users by bringing features like event handling, forms, browser handling, and document (HTML) handling. This continues to be true with 94.5% of the world’s top 10 million websites use JavaScript in the frontend. We can even go ahead and say JavaScript is the only interpreted language that is universally accepted by all web applications and browsers. The most interesting part of JavaScript is, it doesn’t stop here. Creators of JavaScript continued to add more interesting features which has resulted in JavaScript started ruling the backend programming as well.

When it comes to backend there were already many languages existing (PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, etc.). So the norm was to learn one programming language for front end and another one for backend. This got changed with the introduction of node.js (which is a JavaScript runtime environment), which has emerged as the #1 framework by developers. JavaScript is also one of the fastest-growing OpenSource (ranked 4th) that enables developers to build scalable, lightweight web applications with ease. With these unique advantages, JavaScript scores significantly higher than Java by emerging as the only language that can be used both in frontend and backend programming. This has truly enabled full-stack web development phenomenon!

2. Develop Faster and Smoother

From writing less number of lines to re-using packages, there are many features that make JavaScript development a breeze. Let us take a look into them one-by-one:

  1. Re-usability: In the server-side JavaScript programming, there is a great set of the library available in the form of Node Package Manager (NPM). It has more than 7 lakh packages or libraries available for re-use, thereby emerging as the biggest repository in the world. Such extensive support is not available for Java, which speeds up the development.

2. Lines of Code: In JavaScript lesser lines of code achieve more functionality, unlike Java. This is mainly due to the interpreted nature of JavaScript, which offers a higher level of abstraction. Availability of many rich features and libraries (ex: NPM as called out above) developers can achieve the same functionality with a lesser number of lines than Java.

3. Scalable: JavaScript is a scalable language. It has an event-driven framework which consumers lesser amount of resources than Java. This makes it lightweight and efficient, thereby reducing the load on the backend. Combined with non-blocking I/O, JavaScript enabled developers to create scalable web applications.

4. Tools: There are various tools available for JavaScript developers. It gives OpenSource ecosystem support for best-in-class editors/IDE. It also provides some excellent tools with zero cost like Sublime Text, Gulp, NPM, Webpack, Eslint, etc. Such tool ecosystem increased the productivity of developers.

Java is an object-oriented programming language whereas JavaScript is an object-based scripting language. Many of their programming structures are similar. However, JavaScript contains a much smaller and simpler set of programming constructs than Java. Also, it can be easily read and understood by developers than many other programming languages. As a developer an individual get started with JavaScript in the front-end and make a transition into full-stack developer as mentioned in the diagram below. It offers many easier aspects in the frontend (ex: weakly typed) that makes JavaScript having one of the smoothest learning curves when it comes to developers.

4. Most Popular Language

JavaScript has emerged as a flexible and powerful programming language, implemented consistently by various web browsers. By foraying into backend JavaScript has become very popular because it has turned web browsers into application platforms or single-page applications. It also continues to expand into innovative technologies like virtual reality, gaming, animation, and rendering. More breakthroughs in JavaScript are emerging as it makes into the device or embedded systems programming thereby playing a significant role in Internet-Of-Things (IoT), thanks to upcoming JavaScript frameworks like Cylon.js.

In summary, it is becoming a swiss army knife of programming languages, where it can be used for many purposes in a different context. No wonder it continues to be one of the most popular programming languages (refer — image below).

Reason-5: Great Statistics

Last but not the least — Numbers and Numbers JavaScript has great statistics here are some of them for your reference.

· More than 900000 servers deployed Node.js which is the highest growth rate among all

· Job opportunities for those who have excelled in JavaScript have increased immensely. There has been more than 25000% increase in job opportunities all over the world for JavaScript developers and more companies are finding it difficult to hire JavaScript talent.

· More than 10000 companies are asking to include Node.js as the key skill to hire people which even include the top 5 companies. JavaScript is the most trending and popular language among all the Full Stack web developers globally among all surveys, thereby demonstrating a great future.

JavaScript has emerged are more versatile programming language than Java. It was due to many reasons — continuous development, backend usage, multiple domain growth, ease of use, efficiency, tools, etc. On the other hand, Java has not achieved this level of growth even though it is still widely used. Given that scalability is going to be a key requirement of modern-day web applications and cross-functional paradigms like IoT it getting into the mainstream, JavaScript has positioned itself as the numero uno that the developer should learn.

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