Javascript 2019: Are we at the beginning of a new era?


We are almost at 2019, Javascript is becoming more and more a universal programming language. It has long been used for much more than just the Web. Are we at the beginning of a Javascript era?

Javascript was originally developed for the web browser. Content should be able to dynamically change without manual reloading. In the meantime, however, Javascript is far more than that. The reason for this is above all an active developer community and the many resulting frameworks, libraries and tools.

That’s why Javascript is so widely used

Web developers are not around Javascript. For the client-side dynamic execution of code in the web browser, there is currently no realistic alternative. Although theoretically other scripting languages ​​could be used – this also requires the support of the web browser. Since Javascript was the first scripting language for the Web and could easily manipulate HTML elements, it spread rapidly. According to a recent study by W3Techs, almost 95 percent of all websites now use Javascript. Make it the undisputed number one in the field. The only way to avoid developing directly in Javascript is through programming languages ​​such as Kotlin, which later automatically translate the code into Javascript code.

Javascript is an indispensable part of the web. Almost 95 percent of all websites use the scripting language
Javascript is an indispensable part of the web. Almost 95 percent of all websites use the scripting language. (Photo:

Such a high distribution also ensured a huge developer community. For the past six years, JavaScript has been leading the Stackoverflow survey in the category of most-used programming languages. The annual survey is based on responses from tens of thousands of developers around the world and a wide range of professions. Accordingly, Javascript is now much more than a scripting language for the Web. A huge variety of frameworks, libraries, and tools allow for a dozen more use cases. This allows javascript cross-platform apps, entire desktop and server applications or even browser games to be written. Javascript is also used for Internet of Things, Virtual Reality or machine learning technologies with Tensorflow. The list could probably be continued forever.

For example, Facebook’s React Native shows how universal Javascript can be with the right frameworks. The framework is based on the library React, with which user interfaces can be written. While developers with previous frameworks could only write web apps that were then displayed on the smartphone in a webview, this is actually natively with React Native – as the name implies. Without going too much into technical detail, you write with React Javascript code, which is later translated into HTML for the browser. React Native translates the code into native UI elements for Android and iOS instead.

Will Javascript replace other languages?

What’s exciting about this is how JavaScript – a scripting language originally developed for the Web – completely isolates itself from this use case and can be used for something else. Although Javascript will never replace Java and Kotlin for Android or Swift and Objective-C for iOS (at least in the development of true native apps), it is a very good alternative for apps running on both platforms. Popular apps like Uber, Pinterest or Tesla already rely on React Native.

However, Javascript will probably never be able to replace the programming languages ​​available there depending on the application. Also for desktop applications, Javascript will never replace C ++ or Java. Neither C ++ and C # for Games nor C, Perl or Python on Internet of Things. Nonetheless, the scripting language, often erroneously associated with Java, is increasingly evolving into a universal programming language, allowing Javascript developers to program for almost any application.

Are we at the beginning of the Javascript era?

If we are talking about a Javascript era, we have to ask ourselves, if Javascript has a decisive influence on the market. That’s exactly what the scripting language has been doing on the Web for a long time. Without Javascript, there is almost no website, and for a good reason. But what about in the other areas? Let’s take another look at mobile apps. If we look a little further into the future, we meet Progressive Web Apps.

A Progressive Web App is an up-dated version of existing mobile websites. Drilled up in that sense means she has features and abilities that were previously known only in the area of ​​native development. This new generation of web apps is thus able to provide many of the capabilities of today’s mobile apps, making the latter largely unnecessary.

Are Progressive Web Apps the Model of the Future? IT analysts at Gartner are convinced
Are Progressive Web Apps the Model of the Future? IT analysts at Gartner are convinced. (Photo: Shutterstock)

According to forecasts by Gartner’s IT analysts, PWA will replace half of all native apps by 2020. No matter how long it takes, many agree: Progressive web apps are the model of the future. Since PWA are also web apps, Javascript is also used there and is indispensable. If this model prevails in the long term, Javascript will expand its market share again.

Also for desktop applications is increasingly set to Javascript. The appropriate framework for this is called Electron and allows the development of native desktop apps with Javascript, HTML and CSS. Even the UWP apps (Universal Windows Platform Apps), ie apps that can be run under Windows 10 or on the Xbox One, are often written in JavaScript as well as C ++ and C #. Incidentally, this is Facebook’s React Native again. Again, Javascript plays a crucial role.

Desktop apps with the Electron framework. Even large applications like Slack rely on the framework
Desktop apps with the Electron framework. Even large applications like Slack rely on the framework. (Screenshot: Electron /

Desktop, mobile and on the Web: That’s a lot of areas where the scripting language has long since arrived. There we are in the middle of the Javascript era. But for other areas it is not foreseeable that the language will play a decisive role there. No matter if gaming or hardware-related programming. Previous languages ​​will not be easily displaced there. But who knows what the future holds. At the beginning, Javascript was nothing more than a small scripting language for the web browser. And that has changed a lot against many expectations.


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  3. I do think it will grow for a while… sandboxing with node/electron with wasm will become far more common. The sandboxing model actually delivers on a lot of what was promised with Java without having painful UI/UX constraints. It’s a little more bloated that way, but works out.

    Another alternative to electron is Carlo (which uses the already installed chrome and node for it’s operation… I think this may actually surface more and more as a base application choice for cross-platform apps.

    Today most of my time is spent in VS Code + Bash, Chrome, MS Teams, Hyper and Spotify. Most of which are electron apps, and the other the core browser they all use. I don’t think it’s the *BEST* choice for much, but it is *good enough* for most things.

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