Javascript is the English language of web development

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I remember the time when Javascript was a “pet language”, when it was available in only a few browsers, when it was slow as molasses, when you cared more about your HTML and then used it just to validate the input or put snowflakes on your webpage (yes, that was very popular in Winter). In those old days you didn’t “learn” Javascript, you just copied/pasted somebody else’s script because after all, it was just to give your page that “Christmas” feeling.

Things have changed. Javascript has evolved in many many areas, it is not interpreted anymore, it is fast as hell thanks to advancements in execution runtimes (V8, Chakra), it runs in the server powering huge applications (Node) and has even permeated into the desktop environment and mobile applications (Electron, Node-Webkit). Some even have called Javascript the new assembly.

This sounds awesome, but if I got a penny every time I heard a developer (experienced and new) saying something like this, I’d be rich:

Javascript is an awful language, inconsistent, full of quirks. You are crazy if you like that language.

And hey, I do understand, I agree it is a weird language to learn and get used to, just go to any conference about anything and you will see a talk entitled “weird/hard parts of Javascript”.

So is English, it just doesn’t make sense.

Gif vs Jif

If you are a non-native English speaker (like I am) you will notice weird things with the language. Plurals are not consistent, spelling is just weird, and even if you memorise the pronunciation and spelling, when you go to another English speaking country they pronounce the word completely differently (if you are lucky they even have different spellings). We can talk for hours why English is like that, why the spellings are so weird, why plurals are different or why there is a word for the animal (pig) and another for the meat (pork), but I think you will have better luck with a good book or documentary like The Adventure of English, The biography of a language. Long story short: Languages evolve.

Yes, it is weird, even for native speakers, and yes, it is the lingua franca for computer sciences.

Javascript has been like that, it had a very humble origin, it has acquired things from other languages and yes, it has weird things and “awful” parts, but it is everywhere now. We cannot be developers without writing Javascript on a daily basis, yeah, you can try but I don’t think you will go too far in a world of web applications.

Maybe one day this will change, maybe one day we won’t have to “speak” in Javascript anymore, but that day is not today.

Just deal with it, sit down, take your time and learn the language. It is ok if you compare it with another language, but just learn it, stop pretending it doesn’t exist because that is far from the truth.

Javascript is the lingua franca.