Last updated on May 24th, 2023 at 08:48 am

JavaScript is a powerful and complex scripting language. When I first got into coding, I learned HTML and was instantly fired up about learning more languages. Then I found out how powerful and relatively simple CSS was and thought, “Maybe all code is like this.” I was ready to tear through my next language like a blade through smoke.

And then I hit JavaScript. 

I’ve made a commitment to myself to always be forthright and honest in this blog, so I don’t mind telling you that I have been stalled for two years, knowing only HTML and CSS. That was fine when I was just a content creator, but now that I’m a striving web developer, my excuses have run dry. 

That’s why I’ve decided to create an ongoing series, breaking down JavaScript (JS) to its fundamentals. How better to learn than to teach, right? Every week, I will be learning the principles and practices of JavaScript and putting my research together here in this series, which will be free and available in the hope that my learning process can help others jump the same hurdles in learning JS. 

What is JavaScript?

If HTML is the skeleton of a site and CSS is the style, then JS is the muscle, the active code that determines the site’s behavior under certain circumstances. 

Javascript is a scripting language, meaning that it allows developers to automate processes that would otherwise have to be handled manually by a user or administrator. It is also the only client-side language of its kind. That is, it operates on the user’s computer, not on the site’s server, freeing up processing power for the server and streamlining the user’s experience.

Photo by Christopher Robin Ebbinghaus on Unsplash

JavaScript requires at least one HTML file (every muscle needs a bone). Browser engines like Chrome V8, WebKit, and Gecko read JS files line by line and interpret the code in order to perform tasks set by the script. In recent years, browsers have adopted the JIT (Just In Time) Compiler to translate JavaScript into machine code, saving time and processing power on execution of the code.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

JavaScript is a complex and syntax-heavy language, so many developers choose to simplify their code using a front end framework like React, Svelt, Angular, or Vue. In web development, a framework is essentially a library of standard, preset functions or snippets of code. Say a developer wants to add a simple feature to their website. Using a framework like React, they can simply call on the standard feature from that library instead of reinventing the wheel every time. 

Even so, don’t jump straight into frameworks without a solid understanding of the language they’re based on—JavaScript, in this case—or you could find yourself making unnecessary mistakes and creating more work for yourself. 

I’d like to shout out Aaron Jack on YouTube for his succinct and informative videos on JavaScript, which have helped me gain a better understanding of the language so far.

In the next installment of this JS series, we’ll take a look at the jargon of JavaScript, breaking down the various parts of this powerful language. Leave a comment to tell me what you thought of this post! Was it helpful? Would you like to request a topic? I always read and respond to feedback, so I look forward to hearing from you!

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