March 31, 2014

Java and JavaScript: Who Feeds Who?

No doubt, DevCon5 in New York in July will reflect an interesting turn of events in Web development.

In the history of programming, you would be hard-pressed to find a more prolific era than the one we are currently in.  Jesse Cravens, our friend from Frog, and several hundreds of others like him are teaching kids to develop on the Web using nothing more than a plain text editor coupled with a browser. The kids are learning some pretty amazing stuff, and if you weren’t around prior to the mid 1990s you would never suspect just how visual coding can be. Even Tim Berners-Lee jokes now that he never expected to see kittens on the Web.

In the world of the Web, HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript rock! Combined, they enable rendering that makes all the coding that came before it look like a buggy whip. Looks are deceiving, though, and most of the graphical experience is about rendering visual experiences.

JavaScript these days has taken on a greater role, and as a scripting language it has become the core method of information transfer between the servers and the browsers.  And while many regret the use of the name JavaScript because it does not have the same lineage or structure as Java, the language does follow the portability criteria. Also, in the time since Microsoft (News Alert) introduced the product, the number of JavaScripters has far surpassed the six million Java Developers out there (perhaps by as much as tenfold), though even more important is the number of developers who are now capable of quick universal browser processing.

Though in earlier days JavaScript was considered akin to “duct tape” for the Web, today it has come to be integral to mobile Web communications, with Angular, Jquery, and Node.js, etc., representing rapid adaptation for performance delivery. C JavaScript supports a structured programming syntax from C (e.g., if statements, while loops, switch statements, etc.), and makes a distinction between expressions and statements.

JavaScript typically relies on a run-time environment (e.g. a Web browser) to provide objects and methods by which scripts can interact with the environment (e.g. a webpage DOM). It also relies on the run-time environment to provide the ability to include/import scripts (e.g. HTML <script> elements). This is not a language feature per se, but it is common in most JavaScript implementations.”

It may sound hyperbolic, but the impact of JavaScript on the Web right now truly is expanding and explosive.  I believe that we are going to see more and more adaptation on the server side in the next few years, too,  as Java and JavaScript share the performance requirements of delivery and distributed computing.  

Often we get lost in the terms of the day… a verb or noun in front of the initials JS, a nebulous word such as “cloud” masking all sorts of distribution methods, and so forth. In the near future, I plan to ask friends of mine to participate in some very specific interviews, because my sense is that the next phase of the Web will burst forth with even greater performance than we are currently seeing. 

Edited by Alisen Downey


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