Assessing Javascript For Building Large Scale Web Applications

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According to the most recent statistics posted on w3techs.com, more than 89% of websites currently use JavaScript as a client-side programming language.

As a cross-platform and lightweight programming language, JavaScript makes it easier for developers to build responsive websites and web applications that work with seamlessly with popular web browsers, operating systems and mobile devices.

It is also widely deployed by developers to achieve optimal cross browser compatibility to accomplish UI/UX tasks like browser control, user interaction, and asynchronous communication.

Also, developers have the option to deploy JavaScript as a server-side scripting language through Node.js and similar runtime environments.

At the same time, they can also use a variety of open source frameworks to reduce the amount of time and effort required for building JavaScript applications.

It can also be used along with HTML5 and CSS3 for creating web applications and games.

So you can always consider using JavaScript as a dynamic client-side programming language for building large scale web applications.

Advantages of Using JavaScript for Large Scale Web Application Development

Supported by Major Web Browsers

JavaScript is supported by most of the widely used web browsers including Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.

It is also supported by the newer web browsers whose vendors have implemented JavaScript.

So users can access the web applications using JavaScript regardless of their choice of web browser.

They also have option to access all functionality of the website by enabling the scripting language.

No Need to Use Any Specific Tools

JavaScript is an interpreted programming language. So you can easily write the code without using any specific tool or program.

You can simply open notepad and start writing JavaScript code.

Also, you have option to use a number of editors and complilers to identify the mistakes in the code. The editors highlight or reformat the script to make it easier for users to identify the errors.

Option to Reuse the Code

You can further reuse the JavaScript code across multiple pages simply by placing the code in separate files.

After placing the code in a separate file, save the file with the .js extension.

The file can be linked to multiple web pages by appending the <script> tag to the HTML code of the page.

The option negates the requirement to write additional code while adding the same functionality to various parts of the website, as needed.

Many Libraries and Frameworks

You have option to reduce the time and effort required for building large JavaScript applications by using several frameworks and libraries.

Many programmers prefer using dynamic JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS, Backbone, Ember and React.

However, you still have option to choose from a long list of JavaScript libraries according to your specific requirements.

For instance, you can effect a GUI development by deploying widgets like DHTMLX, Bootstrap, jQuery UI, DojoWidgets or AngularJS.

Likewise, you use popular template systems like jQuery Mobile, Handlebars, Mustache and the Cascade Framework.

Comparatively Faster

As noted earlier, JavaScript is a client-side scripting language.

So the code is executed on the user’s system.

As the code is executed without any server interaction, the processing is done at a comparatively faster rate.

The faster processing enables the web application to keep the user base engaged by delivering a richer browsing experience.

Deliver Updated Response Data from the Server

JavaScript further uses the XmlHttpRequest API for data retrieval.

The API sends HTTP or HTTPS requests to the web server, and load the response sent by the server in the script.

The script can easily update the current web page based on the response data received from the server without reloading a new web page.

So you can boost the web application’s performance by providing updated information to the users without reloading the web page completely.

Extend the Website’s Functionality

JavaScript makes it easier for you to extend the functionality of the web application without putting any extra effort.

You can use the scripting language to create visual effects on the screen, calculate data, and make web pages more interactive.

JavaScript further allows you to extend the website’s functionality by using third-party scripts.

The flexibility makes it easier for you to add out-of-box features or your own code to the web application without using any additional plug-ins or tools.

Reduces Server Load 

The server-side scripting languages requires the web server to process the user request beforethe  response is sent to the user.

So the process requires additional time despite the user having a high-speed internet connection.

However, the JavaScript code is processed on the user’s machine, without interacting with the web browser.

Thus, the strain and load on the web server is reduced drastically, while the user receive a quick response.

So overall, you can deployJavaScript in building large scale websites to provide faster response times to users without putting excess strain on the server.

Optimizes Local Caching

JavaScript can be used along with HTML5 to enable users to access websites even when there is not active internet connection.

The technology caches the data locally to keep the web application responsive until the internet connection is restored.

You can even use tools like Kendo UI DataSource to track changes made to an object locally, and upload the changes to the web server once the network connection is restored.

The option enables you to make the web applications work just like a mobile app.

Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, JavaScript can be used as both a client side and server side scripting language.

However, you must keep in mind some of the major shortcomings of JavaScript while using it for building large websites and web applications.

As JavaScript code is executed on the web browser, it can become vulnerable to various security threats, however these threats can be negated by deploying sensible responsive UI/UX design techniques.

The code can also become unpredictable as individual browsers interpret it differently, so cross browser testing needs to take place prior to ‘go live’ and the CSS3 elements etc are updated accordingly if needs be.

Also finally, the web spidering algorithms deployed by major search engines including Google won’t always interpret the client-side code written in JavaScript completely or fully for it to be indexed.

So the search engine ranking and visibility of the web applications using too much JavaScript will be impacted.However, you can still deploy JavaScript along with other popular web technologies like HTML5 and CSS to create robust and secure web applications accessible on multiple devices, operating systems and web browsers without having a detrimental effect on page rankings etc by not being over reliant on javascripts when building web applications or large scale websites.

Further Reading

‘The Future Javascript’, by Sergio Grisedale (available on Amazon)

Paperback: http://amzn.to/2n5TiYN
Kindle: http://amzn.to/2mEweVJ

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