JavaScript

JavaScript was developed 16 years ago by Brendan Eich. The majority of our Web experience relies heavily on JavaScript. Without it, we’d still have to reload a page for every click, we wouldn’t have the ability to interact in a sane way with the Web, and - I speculate - the Web wouldn’t be as omnipresent as it is now. Usability matters.

JavaScript is also one of the worst languages I’ve ever seen. It has many sharp edges and rough parts. Anyways, it also has very unusual, and hence, interesting parts like prototypical inheritance and functional aspects.

Even though, JavaScript is a standardized language, ECMAScript, there are still some undefined parts. The version that almost all Browsers support, ECMAScript3, was a turning point for the modern Web, ECMAScript4 was too bold and didn’t happen. And now ECMAScript5 is coming. ECMAScript5 still has some of the weird parts, but made a few clear cuts. Now the remaining inconsistencies between newer JavaScript implementations in browser shouldn’t be that bad. Of course, this doesn’t help much since there is always an IE6 around the corner.

The domain of JavaScript is the browser, I suppose that more than 99% of the worlds JavaScript code runs within a browser. But it is not limited to the browser. There are JavaScript implementations that can be embedded in other applications (e.g. Rhino to embed it into Java), or the awesome NodeJS project which allows JavaScript to be used as a general purpose language (with focus on network applications).

JavaScript seems to invade our lives wherever it can. Mac OS X Dashboard widgets, browser plugins, Smartphone apps, Webservers etc. there is always a way to use JavaScript!

With the advent of HTML5, there are even more possibilities like opening WebSockets etc.

Few languages are so clearly worth learning as JavaScript. - It’s an interesting language that doesn’t restrict how you use it. - It’s a language you get paid for developing in. - It’s still cool (who cares about Java anymore?). - It’s here to stay (for some time, though).

So, to sum it up, I believe investing in JavaScript pays off. Even if you’re an “enterprise developer” or something. JavaScript will get you, sooner or later, so get it first!

As Douglas Crockford said, JavaScript is a misunderstood language because few people take time to learn it properly. Take your time and get familiar with it. Two resources I’d recommend are: - Douglas Crockford - JavaScript the Good Parts (pre ECMAScript5) - David Flanagan - JavaScript - The Definitive Guide (covers ECMAScript5)

Don’t get too fixed on ECMAScript5, it can be easily “emulated” with ECMAScript3, and few browser fully support it by now.

Some cool stuff in, with or about JavaScript: - Booting the Linux Kernel in JavaScript - right in your Browser - CoffeeScript a scripting language that compiles to JavaScript - Protovis - one of many visualization libraries - JSLint - to prevent pitfalls - JavaScript - the lingua franca of the Web - ECMAScript 5.1 Specification - JavaScript Design Patterns - AES in JavaScript

Gekommen um zu bleiben.
Wie ein perfekter Fleck.
— Wir sind Helden

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