UseCase of JavaScript in business support and logistics

Why Businesses Should Look At Javascript As The First Option To Build Software Products?

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a scripting or programming language that allows you to implement complex features on web pages — every time a web page does more than just sit there and display static information for you to look at — displaying timely content updates, interactive maps, animated 2D/3D graphics, scrolling video jukeboxes, etc. — you can bet that JavaScript is probably involved. It is the third layer of the layer cake of standard web technologies, two of which (HTML and CSS) we have covered in much more detail in other parts of the Learning Area.

  • HTML is the markup language that we use to structure and give meaning to our web content, for example defining paragraphs, headings, and data tables, or embedding images and videos in the page.
  • CSS is a language of style rules that we use to apply styling to our HTML content, for example setting background colors and fonts, and laying out our content in multiple columns.
  • JavaScript is a scripting language that enables you to create dynamically updating content, control multimedia, animate images, and pretty much everything else. (Okay, not everything, but it is amazing what you can achieve with a few lines of JavaScript code.)

So what can it really do?

The core client-side JavaScript language consists of some common programming features that allow you to do things like:

  • Store useful values inside variables. In the above example for instance, we ask for a new name to be entered then store that name in a variable called name.
  • Operations on pieces of text (known as “strings” in programming). In the above example we take the string “Player 1: “ and join it to the name variable to create the complete text label, e.g. ''Player 1: Chris".
  • Running code in response to certain events occurring on a web page. We used a click event in our example above to detect when the button is clicked and then run the code that updates the text label.
  • And much more!

What is even more exciting however is the functionality built on top of the client-side JavaScript language. So-called Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) provide you with extra superpowers to use in your JavaScript code.

APIs are ready-made sets of code building blocks that allow a developer to implement programs that would otherwise be hard or impossible to implement. They do the same thing for programming that ready-made furniture kits do for home building — it is much easier to take ready-cut panels and screw them together to make a bookshelf than it is to work out the design yourself, go and find the correct wood, cut all the panels to the right size and shape, find the correct-sized screws, and then put them together to make a bookshelf.

They generally fall into two categories.

Browser APIs are built into your web browser, and are able to expose data from the surrounding computer environment, or do useful complex things.

What is JavaScript doing on your page?

Here we’ll actually start looking at some code, and while doing so, explore what actually happens when you run some JavaScript in your page.

Let’s briefly recap the story of what happens when you load a web page in a browser (first talked about in our How CSS works article). When you load a web page in your browser, you are running your code (the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) inside an execution environment (the browser tab). This is like a factory that takes in raw materials (the code) and outputs a product (the web page).

A very common use of JavaScript is to dynamically modify HTML and CSS to update a user interface, via the Document Object Model API (as mentioned above). Note that the code in your web documents is generally loaded and executed in the order it appears on the page. If the JavaScript loads and tries to run before the HTML and CSS it is affecting has been loaded, errors can occur. You will learn ways around this later in the article, in the Script loading strategies section.

Why Businesses Should Look At Javascript As The First Option To Build Software Products?

The world of programming languages is an ever-expanding one. Innovative technologies are regularly introduced to meet the rising demands of businesses and users. However, choosing the right programming language for a software product is a more or less challenging task. Be it an established multinational organization or a start-up in nascence, the choice of the programming language is a make-or-break factor for their software projects. Hence, it is essential to analyze various relevant factors before you choose the style.

Among the most popular and widely-used programming languages, JavaScript is a top contender. JavaScript is used as a client-side programming language by 95.2% of all websites in the world. It is a light-weight, high-level interpreted programming language. It is an oft-recommended choice by developers for building applications for various needs ranging from simple websites to interactive games. In the Annual Developer Survey Results 2018 by Stack Overflow, it was pointed out that 71.5% of professional developers marked JS as their preferred choice of language.

So, what are those factors that keep JS in demand? Let’s dig deep into JavaScript and figure out the reasons why it should be considered as the first option to build software products.

Getting familiar with JavaScript

JavaScript was developed by Brendan Eich in 1995 for Netscape Navigator web browser. It is an object-oriented programming language that was predominantly used to render web pages dynamically and interactively. Gone are those days, when JavaScript dominated the front-end.

JavaScript-JS is everywhere now. It has progressed to be an appealing language for cross-platform applications. Given the dynamic nature and close integration with the Document Object Model (DOM), it is commonly used in a general-purpose capacity now.

The introduction of Isomorphic (Universal) JavaScript has made this programming language environment-agnostic. In other words, it allows you to write and execute the same code on the client-side and the server-side. React, Meteor, Angular Universal, Carberry, etc. are examples of isomorphic frameworks from JS.

Today, JS stands at a dominating position in the software development industry with its ecosystem. It offers an extensive range of tools which makes it approachable for all types of software projects. With a vast repository of development frameworks and vibrant support communities, JS is arguably the best choice for software solutions in today’s world.

The list of significant organizations that use JavaScript technologies includes Netflix, Google, PayPal, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, Microsoft, YouTube, etc.

Major frameworks in JavaScript

A structure refers to the set of ready-to-use codes written in JavaScript to build software solutions. It comes with a predetermined application design and toolset. Thus, the development process can be fast-forwarded, which in turn saves time, money, and effort for businesses. Here are a few handpicked JS frameworks which are highly influential and equally popular:

  • React — Undoubtedly, it is one of the most preferred JS frameworks for building dynamic user interfaces with advanced features. It is used by major brands like Whatsapp, Airbnb, Facebook, Instagram, etc. React Native is an open-source mobile application framework built by Facebook. It is commonly used for rendering native mobile apps that are real and feature-rich.
  • Angular — Angular is another popular JS framework that is best suited for building dynamic single-page applications. It is a desired JS framework for businesses owing to its amazing features which will substantially cut down the coding effort. An example for organizations that use AngularJS is none other than Google, the tech giant.
  • Vue — Vue is a sought-after JS framework for front-end development. It is often referred to as a progressive framework, which means it can adapt to the needs of the developer. Adobe, Alibaba, Grammarly, and Xiaomi are some of the significant organizations that make applications based on Vue.
  • Node — It is an event-driven framework which is extremely fast in operations. Node works well with applications that require high data processing. Some of the major brands that use Node are LinkedIn, Medium, Uber, and eBay.
  • Ember — With its flow of functionality and simplicity, Ember makes app development an easy process. It is well-capable to develop complicated and broad client-side applications.

What can you build with JavaScript?

Quoting the famous statement of Jeff Atwood, which is often referred to as Atwood law, “Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.” The quote is now more than a decade old, and it is turning out to be right in the current technological scenario. These days, JS is used for automating simple tasks for building complex software applications. Listed below are some of the common uses of JavaScript.

  • Website development — JS is still widely used by developers for building robust, interactive, and dynamic websites with rich user interfaces.
  • Web applications — JS offers numerous frameworks that make it possible to build complex web applications with minimal effort. Angular, Vue, React, etc. are commonly used frameworks for web applications. One of the significant examples of web applications built in JS is Google Maps.
  • Web server — With the advent of frameworks like Node.js and Express.js, JavaScript became an oft-recommended choice for web server applications as well. You can build robust web server applications with minimal investment and less effort in JS.
  • Mobile applications — JS is a highly influential and dynamic language when you want to build robust mobile applications. As you know, mobile apps are built for Android and Apple platforms, and both require a different approach in coding. With JS frameworks like React Native, you can build mobile apps that can be deployed to both the app stores. Walmart, Facebook, Instagram, Bloomberg, etc. are examples of mobile apps built on JS frameworks.
  • Gaming applications — JS offers a good number of game development frameworks (engines), which has powerful features and tools to build incredible gaming applications. Moreover, the addition of HTML5 canvas has led to the development of fast-paced browser-based games with higher levels of complexity.
  • IoT devices — The Internet of Things is revolutionizing the world, and JS frameworks are widely used in building efficient IoT systems. The event-driven nature, open-source availability, popularity of Node, end-user scripting, enhanced security — all these factors make it an acceptable choice for IoT Application development systems. Major companies like IBM, Samsung, and Microsoft uses JS for their IoT devices.
  • Presentations — Forget about PowerPoint or Keynote, JS is used for creating attractive and animated displays. By taking advantage of HTML and CSS, one can build captivating performances as websites using JS frameworks like Reveal.
  • Drones — Quadcopters have increasingly become popular these days. It is now possible to control the drones by using JavaScript codes.
  • Virtual Reality — JS enables you to create virtual reality experiences too. With powerful JavaScript API’s like WebVR, you can merge VR devices with the internet.

15 reasons why businesses should consider JavaScript for software products

Although numerous powerful tools and technologies hit the market every month, the fame and acceptance of JavaScript remain unchallenged. When it comes to software solutions for businesses, there is still a massive demand for JS. Listed below are the probable reasons behind the advancement and acceptance of JS.

  • Powerful frameworks

JavaScript has a rich library of structures that have been added over time, and the developer can choose the perfect fit depending on the project particulars. Furthermore, there are plenty of amazing features in each of these frameworks to make the development quicker, efficient, and cost-effective.

  • High-speed advantage

JavaScript runs exceptionally fast within the client-side browser. It is unrestricted by network calls to the backend server. Because of the server-side processing, JavaScript enables you to render animation and similar features quickly and ensures a smoother experience for the user.

  • Full-stack development

Initially, JavaScript was introduced as front-end interpreted language. The advent of full-stack development has made it possible to write backend and front-end code in JavaScript. For example, Node is a JS framework that allows you to unify the web development process within a single programming language. One popular full-stack JavaScript is the MEAN stack which is an acronym for MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and NodeJS. Companies like LinkedIn, Netflix, eBay, etc. have taken advantage of this technology.

  • Interoperability and compatibility

JavaScript works perfectly with other programming languages hence suited for a wide variety of applications. It can be easily inserted into other web pages without considering the file extension. It is also compatible with scripts written in languages like Perl, PHP, etc.

  • Ease of testing and debugging

Since JavaScript is an interpreted language, it is pretty simple to identify the bugs during run time. The codes are interpreted line by line and errors can be identified along with the line number. Thus, it is easy for the developers to find out fault, debug it, and test it again.

  • Event-based language

JavaScript is an event-based language, which means the code segments are executed depending on the user activity. To put it, a code segment will be executed only when the user clicks a button or moves the mouse. Here, the advantage is all the codes don’t get initialized when the website is loaded which, in turn, minimizes the loading time.

  • Rich interfaces

JS frameworks allow you to create feature-rich, captivating search interfaces for your users. Features like drag and drop components, slides, etc. are effortlessly possible with JavaScript.

  • Procedural capabilities

JavaScript offers all the features of a procedural programming language. It is possible to execute features like condition checking, looping, forking, and branching, on a web page in JS. All these features make the application interactive and fun to use.

  • Concurrent codes

Concurrency is the ability to run multiple tasks at a time. In JavaScript, it is possible to handle various operations in a thread by executing functions like Callback, Promises, Async/Await, etc. This, in turn, saves time for developers by not having to write additional programs for various applications.

  • Platform independent

These days, almost all browsers can understand and interpret codes written in JavaScript. Since it is a platform-independent language, the scripts can run on all types of browsers and platforms.

  • Expert developers

JavaScript comes with an intuitive easy-to-learn syntax. It is easy for developers to learn the language and master the skill of creating excellent applications in it. Hence, there is no shortage of knowledgeable professionals in JavaScript. Owing to the popularity of this language, you can easily find expert developers for the development and support of your software solutions.

  • Support community

Similar to any other popular language, JavaScript has proactive support communities and can assist in all aspects of development and maintenance. Not to mention, long-term maintenance and timely upgrades are essential for software solutions for businesses. Finding support for JS-enabled solutions would remain an effortless task in the future too.

  • Cost-efficiency

The cost of developing a software solution incurs huge capital and is a significant investment, especially when it is a start-up or SME. That is where JavaScript frameworks can be of great help. Projects that require endless hours of coding can be swiftly build using JavaScript frameworks in minimal time. Most of the JS frameworks are open-source and available for developers for free. Therefore, you don’t have to incur the cost of expensive subscriptions or product licenses. The cost of development of the software solution will be significantly low in JavaScript.

  • Cybersecurity

Ensuring the security of data is a priority when it comes to building software solutions for businesses. The good thing about JS frameworks is that the lion’s share of resources is pumped into it for enhancing the security features. And the extensive support community of developers stays active in finding out the issues and debugging it proactively. Hence, you can count on the security features offered by this language.

  • Futuristic technology

Arguably JavaScript is here to stay. The range to which this programming language has advanced in the last two decades is incredible when compared with its competitors. It continues to evolve to suit the changing technological environment. Hence you can easily dig out a modern, effective and sustainable solution in JavaScript for your business.

Which JavaScript framework is right for your business?

JavaScript offers a larger room for creativity and experimentation with its vast ecosystem of frameworks, tech stacks, libraries, and other tools. Each of the structures comes with a set of distinct advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps, no one frameworks perfectly for any given project.

Here are a few critical considerations while you choose a JS framework for your business:

  • Project specifics and requirements: Given the multitude of options, the right step is to shortlist the technologies that solve the specific needs of your project. A useful rule of thumb is — it is hardly possible to find the best framework, but you can always choose the right one. Develop a proper understanding of your business objectives and project goals before you select the technology. For example, if the solution requires a live chat feature, then the Node is a good option among JS frameworks.
  • Checklist for technical features: The list for technical features includes various factors like data binding, testability, dependencies, templates, modularity, browser compatibility, third-party functionalities, responsiveness, ease of use, adaptability, etc. The level of flexibility offered by the framework should also be a significant consideration.
  • Cost of development and maintenance: Ideally, you should choose the technology with regards to affordability. The cost of development may not be limited to the completion stage as you may have to pump money for maintenance as well.
  • Availability of resources: As a business owner, finding expert developers to work on your choice of the framework should not turn out to be a time-waste activity. Make sure the language and structure you choose have a dynamic developer community. You should give a thought on the availability of developers for quick maintenance and support in the future as well. Know the fact that every technology has a life cycle and check whether the one you choose will sustain for long.
  • Security features: Cybersecurity and threat mitigation should also be at the forefront while you choose a framework or library.

The Bottom-line

Undoubtedly, JavaScript is a technology with a bright future. The capability and flexibility of JavaScript allow businesses to build robust software solutions that drive excellent results.

Trends show that JS will witness remarkable growth in the years to come, thanks to its high adoption rate and increasing popularity. And it continues to evolve and enrich its features to meet the requirements of the modern business environment. No wonder it is a preferred choice for a large number of SMEs and Fortune 500 companies in this fast-paced tech world.

To wind up, the choice of technology to build software solutions is subjective. It should be handpicked based on the use case, current and future business goals, and affordability. The power of JavaScript is immense, and organizations can leverage it for building excellent web solutions; however, the final choice of technology should depend on whether it meets the specific requirements of the project.

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