JavaScript: From First Steps to Professional

What is JavaScript

Anjana Vakil

Anjana Vakil

Software Engineer & Educator
JavaScript: From First Steps to Professional

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The "What is JavaScript" Lesson is part of the full, JavaScript: From First Steps to Professional course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Anjana discusses what JavaScript is and what it can do some examples include the language of the web, a programming language, and something that lets people modify and add functionality to a website.


Transcript from the "What is JavaScript" Lesson

>> What are we even doing here? Why do we care about JavaScript and how would we JavaScript if we wanted to? That's what we're gonna talk about first to kick things off today. So what is JavaScript? Just a simple question, small question. Would anyone like to describe JavaScript in their words?

Perhaps folks who've encountered it before, or been working with it before.
>> I think it's a language that helps languages, or that helps websites display and talk to other websites, I guess.
>> Great, so I heard a couple of things in there. One, language, it's a programming language.

Yes, totally. Two, websites, it is a language of the web, and it helps websites to do stuff, yeah, to paraphrase what said. Great, thank you. Yes, indeed, it is a language that helps website to do things.
>> Language to modify and interact with HTML.
>> Language to modify and interact with HTML.

That is great. Yes, JavaScript can modify and interact with HTML, and that is exactly what we're gonna be doing in a few minutes here. Excellent, thank you, Chat. Yeah.
>> It's a programming language, the language of the web.
>> The language of the web, the programming language of the web, yes.

So we're gonna talk a little bit about how that came to be as well. Yeah.
>> A dynamic programming language.
>> A dynamic programming language, yes. Okay, so we're gonna talk a little bit about what that means about how we can interact with JavaScript and how we can run it kind of live in the browser.

>> It makes the web interactive, handles the behavior of websites, and yeah, modify the behavior of HTML elements.
>> Excellent points, yes. So JavaScript lets us modify websites and make them interactive, which is a huge, huge point of this, and that's what we're gonna be working towards. So tomorrow, we're gonna be really digging into the interactivity piece.

But yes, today we're going to be using it to modify a website is exactly what we're gonna be using it for. So these are all great points, just in the interest of moving along. This is some JavaScript. This is a tiny little simple JavaScript code snippet. So we have an object here called JS, we're gonna talk more about objects later today.

But it describes some things about JavaScript. So we often abbreviate it JS. It's a pretty awesome language, I think, because it can do a lot of things. And it can teach us a lot about different concepts in computer science as well. Because it covers a lot of ground and has a lot of different styles of programming supported and kind of included in the JavaScript universe.

Fun fact is JavaScript was created in 1995. So I hope you all like 90s memes cuz there's gonna be a lot of 90s pop culture references in this course. Get ready. And it was created by a person named Brendan Eich while working on the web browser. Do you remember Netscape Navigator?

Yeah, some of us. Some of us might be too young to remember those days. But so JavaScript was created in a period of about ten days in 1995 in order to allow folks a way to write scripts or kind of manipulate webpages. And since then, it has really grown far beyond its initial goal of being kind of a language embedded in your web page or in your web browser that can let you manipulate the web page.

And now we can do all kinds of things with JavaScript. We can run JavaScript in the browser, which is what we're gonna be doing in this course. We can also run JavaScript on servers using a project called Node.js that lets us run server-side JavaScript. You see JavaScript even popping up on things like embedded devices.

There are a few implementations for running JavaScript on Internet of things devices, so smart devices and things like that. So, JavaScript has really kind of escaped in the original confines of being a language dedicated to manipulating web pages. And we're not gonna talk too much about the rest of the JavaScript world, but again, there are tons of great courses on all of this stuff, Node.js, etc, on Frontend Masters.

So my hope is that once we've talked a little bit about some JavaScript fundamentals here, y'all will be able to dive in and continue running with the JavaScript journey as far as you'd like. And the interesting thing is that JavaScript is sort of like we could think of it as the the lingua franca or the kind of common language of the web.

But it has also given rise to other languages which even use JavaScript as a compilation target, meaning some other language that then gets translated to JavaScript to run in the web browser. So we have other languages like TypeScript and things like ClojureScript, functional languages like Elm, there's a course on Frontend Masters on, that use JavaScript as a way to talk to the web browser.

So it's a really, really fascinating language, I think. And there's, like I said, kind of an infinity of things we can learn with JavaScript. You can do amazing stuff with JavaScript. You can connect it to mind control devices. You can use it to interact with the real world through these IoT things.

You can, of course, do what pretty much whatever you want to a website with JavaScript. And so I think JavaScript is pretty awesome. So in that case, if you all agree that JavaScript is awesome, which hopefully you do, cuz you're here in this course, [LAUGH] then we can all have a nice moment of saying, hell yes JS, whew.

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