The Most Popular Tools for JavaScript Developers

For most laymen, including executives, managers, and human resources recruiters, most of the programming languages in use today seem remarkably similar–they use indistinguishable terminology, follow the same basic programming rules, and create products that look remarkably similar to an outsider. However, each of these programming languages represents a radically different approach to computer engineering and require a very specific, often non-transferable skill set, in order to master a particular language.

While many well-known programming languages, like Python, C#, Swift, and C++ have dominated headlines in the technology industry for the past couple years, the consensus among experts in the field is that JavaScript is by far one of the most important programming languages a software engineer should master. A recent survey conducted by the Web Technologies Survey organization found that more than 95% of websites in the world utilize JavaScript in some form. In addition, this language is also gaining popularity as a versatile front-end and back-end tool for use in website design and software development. Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and offshore JavaScript development firms have all helped make this programming language such a dominant presence.

What is JavaScript and Why Does it Matter?

JavaScript has rapidly become the single most important and widely used programming language in the United States today, adopted by Fortune 500 and offshore Javascript services alike. It is supported by nearly every popular web browser in use today, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer, and more. One of the main reasons behind the language’s success is its ability to produce extremely high-quality, interactive content on websites.

Prior to JavaScript, website content was largely limited to text, basic pictures, and gifs. However, JavaScript opened the door to interactive websites by allowing developers to include things like moving graphics, automatic slideshows, and autocomplete text suggestions that make searching a website much easier.

Traditional web development tools like HTML and CSS are still in use today and work alongside JavaScript to create beautifully designed and interactive websites. While HTML is used to create the basic structure of a webpage and to determine the content of the page, such as text and graphics, CSS is used to control the look of a page, allowing developers to change things related to the colors, font, and placement of everything. On the other hand, JavaScript is responsible for creating interactive content and movement on the page without requiring the visitor to refresh or click on to a new webpage.

The flexibility and learning ease associated with this programming language has helped it become one of the most popular programming languages in the technology industry. The consumer of today has high expectations: websites should work flawlessly, draw the visitor in through interested and interactive content, and mobile applications should function smoothly regardless of the strength of 5G service. JavaScript programming continues to be one of the three most in-demand programming languages today,  making hiring experienced programmers with this skill set a challenge in the tight technology job market. Companies struggling to find software engineers with the right JavaScript framework may consider working with JavaScript development companies to secure the best talent.

Essential JavaScript Tools for Your Developers

JavaScript is currently the most widely-used website and web application development tool used by big tech today. Well-respected JavaScript development outsourcing partners can use the programming language and its tools to create a gorgeous, highly-interactive website or application with the potential for widespread adoption. Despite the programming language’s ease-of-use, the ecosystem is constantly changing because of the huge amount of JavaScript libraries and frameworks that are released on a regular basis. This section will help managers and engineers select the best tool for the next development cycle.

Front-end Frameworks: React

React is a JavaScript library that was specifically created to build user interface components. It was created by Jordan Walke, a software engineer at Facebook, and was first implemented in Facebook’s newsfeed in 2011, before moving to the Instagram platform the following year. It continues to be maintained by Facebook, it is a part of the larger Facebook Open Source community, and was open-sourced in March 2015.

The library is highly flexible and can be used for both website development and application building. One of the reasons that the language has become so popular is because it allows developers to work within a virtual browser that is far superior for development tasks than traditional web browsers. In addition, the process of creating user interfaces is much easier than previous languages, since programmers only need to describe a user interface for it to be updated, saving several steps and a great deal of time compared to previous languages. Lastly, there is little barrier to entry with React: experienced JavaScript developers can expect to become competent at React in less than a day.

Language Flavor: ES6

ECMAScript 6, popularly known as ES6 or ES2015, is the most popular language flavor used by JavaScript developers. ES5 was introduced in 2015 and has been used extensively in the development world in the years since. The scripting language specification was designed to standardize JavaScript allowing for the creation of other implementations like the popular JScript and ActionScript. It is most often used for client-side website scripting but is seeing more and more use as a server application writer and services writer for Node.js.

ES6 is the best ES version to use because it is safe and secure. In addition, ES6 can be used with a wide range of desktop browsers, from cutting edge browser released this year, all the way to legacy browsers that are often unsupported by other technologies, just by using a babel compiler to convert ES6 code to the older ES5 version. Another major benefit of ES6 is the ability to use class keywords, meaning that developers no longer have to rely on prototype inheritance to create a class. Lastly, ES6’s Arrow Functions are already loved by programmers since they provide developers with a new way to declare functions, making the assigning of data much easier.

Task Runner: Gulp

Task runners might just be the unsung heroes for developers. They quietly operate in the background, automating a variety of development tasks, like compiling code and concatenating files, that would otherwise soak up a great deal of time for the development team. While these task runners can be excellent tools to reduce development workload and help engineers concentrate on the most important tasks, choosing the wrong task runner can leave a team saddled with nonstop build script tweaks and troubleshooting.

Although Gulp is one of the most recently released task runners in the industry, it is quickly gaining followers and is predicted to overtake the number one task runner, Grunt, sometime within the next several years. Its code-centric approach is radically different from Grunt: Gulp focuses on code over configuration because code is more flexible than a huge array of configuration files. While Gulp requires users to be familiar with NOde.js streaming and API, it is faster than Grunt and easier to use once the system is mastered.

Looking Forward

JavaScript has become, and will continue to be, the most popular programming language for website design and website applications because of its ease of use, extreme flexibility, and its ability to create the type of interactive content that consumers crave. While the JavaScript tools investigated today are essential for any developer or project manager interested in website and web application design, the number of tools released each year continues to increase. It is vital that savvy managers stay on top of developments within the field, or that they work with the type of JavaScript development services who consistently have the expertise and knowledge to execute high-quality JavaScript development projects.

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