What Is JavaScript Used For?

What Is JavaScript Used For?

One of the sole purposes of learning to write code is to build or do things. That makes it very important to know the capabilities of any programming language. When you see the kind of applications you can create, it becomes easier to invest time in learning it. You’ll also become more assured that you’re on the path that appeals most to you.

The list of features and uses of JavaScript is quite long, but in the next couple of minutes, you will have a better understanding of what JavaScript is used for. At the end of this article, you will have a clear picture of the language’s use cases, and hopefully, you will start making moves to build a fantastic project.

How is JavaScript Used?

A lot of programming language rankings in the last decade show JavaScript to be one of the top ten most popular languages. These rankings show that JavaScript is one of the hottest programming languages around, and JavaScript is used in a lot of applications out there today.

For a long time, the primary use of JavaScript has been for client-side programming. So when you see a button, text, or any object moving on a web page, it is most likely a result of JavaScript code.

JavaScript has become very powerful and is no longer a web-only programming language. These are some uses of JavaScript you will learn about:

  • Client-Side Web Applications
  • Server-Side Web Applications
  • Mobile Applications
  • Desktop Applications
  • Web Games

What are the Client-Side Web Applications of JavaScript?

Traditional web applications usually have the client-side and server-side.

On the client-side, you can use JavaScript to add interactivity to web pages. There are a lot of fantastic animations you can create with JavaScript. All that matters is how you manipulate the HTML and CSS.

With pure JavaScript, also known as VanillaJS, you can do some fantastic animations. But, you can also make use of a library such as JQuery to make your work easier.

Some of the animations you can create using JavaScript are:

  • The smooth fading of a button
  • The figure-changing effect of count-down timers
  • The zooming animation when viewing images
  • The playing of media files such as audio or video
  • Custom animations of web page elements

JavaScript is also used for building or drawing all kinds of interfaces or diagrams. JavaScript libraries such as D3.js, ChartJS make it easy to beautiful graphs and charts.

There has been an influx of JavaScript frameworks recently. These frameworks make client-side web development less complicated. The most popular of these frameworks are Angular, React, Vue.js.

These frameworks make it easy to build Single Page Applications (SPAs) and Progressive Web Applications (PWAs).

SPAs are web applications, but they do not send a request to the server for web pages every time. They only request a web page once, then change its contents dynamically using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML popularly known as AJAX.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are web applications with some “mobile-app powers.” Like SPAs, PWAs do not always request for web pages. But they also have access to the mobile device’s functionalities and work offline.

What are the Server-Side Web Applications of JavaScript?

A large number of web applications or web sites you find online today have a server-side to them. JavaScript plus a server-side language used to be the formula for building web applications, but things have since changed.

Through Node.js, JavaScript now runs on servers and not just browsers alone. Node.js is an environment that has all the necessary tools to allow JavaScript run on servers.

With Node.js, you can write server-side software using JavaScript. For example, you can write the code that allows people to log into web applications. You can add users into a database and check if they exist in the database when they intend to log in again—all with Node.js alone.

Another example of such server-side applications is an automated mailing system where the software sends automated emails to chosen email addresses.

You can also create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) using Node.js. Through your APIs, other web applications can communicate with your web app. For example, if you have some information on the weather conditions on your street; you can build an API. Through this API, other apps can request for the weather data when they need it.

There’s a whole lot you can do as regards building software for servers when using NodeJS.

What are the Mobile Applications of JavaScript?

Java and Swift are popular languages for building mobile apps for Android and iOS, respectively. With frameworks like Ionic, React Native, the features and uses of JavaScript also make it a powerful tool for building mobile apps.

Today, React Native is about the most popular mobile development JavaScript framework. With React Native, you can build mobile applications for different operating systems.

So, you do not need to write different code bases for the Android and iOS operating systems. All you need to do is to write code once and run it across different platforms.

What are the Desktop Applications of JavaScript?

JavaScript can also build desktop applications. So it is not limited to mobile and web applications alone. Desktop applications are not as popular as mobile or web apps, but they are still needed.

Electron, NW.js, AppJS are some JavaScript frameworks that let you build desktop apps. But, these apps are not native desktop apps. They are hosted in web browsers and leverage on them to run on desktop devices.

If you want native desktop apps, you can use a framework like Proton Native. Proton Native provides you with native desktop components and tools that you can use to build a standard native desktop app.

The desktop applications you build using JavaScript are cross-platform. You do not need to write code for different platforms as a one code base will work fine on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

How to build Web Games with JavaScript?

If you find the development of applications quite boring and want to create some games, JavaScript is also capable of building web games. There are enough frameworks and libraries that you can use to make a game, be it a 2D or 3D game.

PhysicsJS, Pixi.js are some JavaScript game engines you can use to make a mind-blowing web game. You can also add audio to your games to make it more interactive and exciting for the players.

You can also make use of the Web Graphics Library (WebGL). WebGL is the JavaScript API for rendering 2D and 3D images on web browsers. With it, you can do other computer graphics tasks on the web such as simulations.

Extras

So far, you’ve seen some of the widespread use cases of the JavaScript language. But it doesn’t end there.

You can also use JavaScript for the following:

  • Artificial Intelligence: You can use JavaScript to work on AI-related projects. With the Tensorflow.js machine learning library, you can do AI stuff using JavaScript.
  • Embedded Systems: Node.js is famous for building server-side web applications. But one can also use it to write software that runs on embedded systems.
  • Presentations: Reveal.js, Impress.js are pretty powerful frameworks you can use to create beautiful slide decks. The advantage is that they are easy to use; so you can make something amazing in a couple of minutes.

Conclusion

JavaScript is one of the top programming languages out there today. This is easy to see as there is a constant release of new libraries and frameworks for the language.

While a lot of these frameworks are for the web, there are a couple that makes JavaScript usable in different fields.

A decade ago, using JavaScript for Artificial Intelligence or Mobile Apps would have been laughable. But the story has changed. In summary, there are many different uses of JavaScript, and that list will only get longer.

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