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Your Complete Guide to JavaScript

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By: Olivia

July 3, 2017

JavaScript is the most commonly used programming language on a global scale. Even Back-End developers are more likely to use it than any other language. A survey from Stack Overflow revealed that 90.5% of developers know JavaScript.What makes these development skills so valuable? For starters, front-end developers make an average of $75,563 in the US, according to Glassdoor and Payscale, not to mention its’ growing popularity.In the world of web development, there are so many resources available on the web, it’s difficult to know where to start on your path to learning this beneficial language. If your goal is to become a front-end developer, or if you’re working with front end developers to tie an application together, these skills can be extremely helpful and make your job marketability even easier.Many recommend JavaScript as your first programming language because it’s the easiest to start learning since there’s nothing to install or complex ‘runtime’ environments to configure, not to mention all the available resources to help. Keep in mind that if you’re dedicated to becoming a programmer, JavaScript should not be the only language you learn.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language that enables you to create dynamically updating content, control multimedia, and animate images within web browsers. Used alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the core technologies of internet content production. The majority of websites employ it and all current browsers support it without the need for plug-ins.“Initially only implemented client-side in web browsers, JavaScript engines are now embedded in many other types of host software, including server-side in web servers and databases, and in non-web programs such as word processors and PDF software, and in runtime environments that make JavaScript available for writing mobile and desktop applications, including desktop widgets.”Considered a ‘high-level, dynamic, programming language, JavaScript is built without having to know the details of the computer it’s running on and can be manipulated by developers by adding new code while the program is running.

How are Java and JavaScript different?

Although JavaScript and Java may seem similar and both contain a language name, syntax, standard libraries, they are very different. While JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language, Java is an object-oriented programming language.“The main difference is that Java can stand on its own while JavaScript must (primarily) be placed inside an HTML document to function. Java is a much larger and more complicated language that creates "standalone" applications. A Java "applet" (so-called because it is a little application) is a fully contained program. JavaScript is text that is fed into a browser that can interpret it and then it is enacted by the browser--although today's web apps are starting to blur the line between traditional desktop applications and those which are created using the traditional web technologies: JavaScript, HTML and CSS.”The difference can be broke down as:
  • Java is an OOP programming language and JavaScript is an OOP scripting language.
  • Java creates applications that run in a virtual machine or browser while JavaScript code is run on a browser only.
  • Java code needs to be compiled while JavaScript code is all in the text.
  • Both require different plug-ins.

How does it work?

In any web page, place JavaScript code and when the browser loads the page, it has a built-in interpreter that reads the code it finds on that page and runs it. Depending upon what you want your JavaScript code to do and how you structured it, it will either execute as soon as the file loads or wait for a triggering event (like a click, or load). When the code is executed by the line, it instantly takes effect, so you don’t need to compile the code into another form.

What are some of the features of JavaScript?

There are many features of JavaScript that make it an advantageous language to deploy for any site. Since it is client-side, JavaScript is very fast, simple to implement, and can be used in many applications. It also reduces the demand on the server.

What is JavaScript used for?

Using JavaScript, you can tailor the way your pages look to different users based on criteria, create animated effects, and make your website easier to navigate. JavaScript can provide field validation, create expandable site maps, display a message after form submission, create calculators, load content into multiple frames, and add tooltips.Additional features include automatically changing a formatted date on a web page, causing a linked-to page to appear in a popup window, and causing text or a graphic image to change when a mouse hovers.

Why should I learn JavaScript?

In general, script languages are easier and faster to code in than the more structured and compiled languages such as C and C++. Script languages generally take longer to process than compiled languages, but are very useful for shorter programs.If you’re serious about working as a developer, this language comes as the most highly recommended due to how commonly it’s used, not to mention those with a background in JavaScript are more desirable employees who tend to earn a higher salary than those without this sought after development knowledge.

How can I learn JavaScript?

Sure, there are plenty of online tutorials, but if you really want to become a ‘JavaScript Guru,’ and truly learn the different capabilities of this tool, we recommend learning step-by-step with the HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals Hands-On lab. While other tutorials may show and tell you about the tool, this JavaScript lab walks you through the steps to perform the tasks yourself so you can learn by doing.

What is a virtual lab?

Virtual labs are pre-configured hardware layouts with accompanying lab guides for fast, convenient access that make studying for an exam or learning new technologies an engaging experience. Develop your comprehensive IT skills in a safe, working environment without the need to invest in your own hardware and software.
  • Practical Training on the Latest Industry Technology
  • Real Equipment, No Simulations
  • 6 Month Unified Access Available on Any Device
  • No Hardware or Licensing Costs

What will I learn in this lab?

Although HTML is often thought of as a web technology that is rendered in a browser to produce a UI, this lab focuses on using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to develop client applications. It will teach you the fundamental knowledge to manage the application lifecycle, build a user interface using HTML5, format the user interface using CSS, and code using JavaScript.Lab exercises include:
  • Configure HTML5 Tags for Text Display
  • Configure HTML5 to Play Video and Audio Files
  • Configure HTML5 Tags to Organize Content and Forms
  • Configure HTML5 Tags for Input and Validation
  • Use CSS to Format User Interface in HTML5
  • Use CSS to Manage Content in HTML5
  • Use CSS to Manage the Graphical Interface in HTML5
  • Use JavaScript and JQuery in HTML5
  • Use JavaScript to Manage User Interface Elements in HTML5
  • Use JavaScript in HTML5 for Animation
  • Use JavaScript in HTML5 for Data and File Access
  • Use JavaScript in HTML 5 for Touch Screen Detection
  • Use JavaScript with HTML5 APIs

To Summarize

JavaScript is the ‘go-to’ client- side language of browsers. If you want to make a website and provide great UX, then JavaScript is your best bet. Some popular sites using JavaScript include Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon and Twitter, with over 88% of all websites utilizing it.This versatile programming language is an in-demand skill that can provide a wide range of opportunities to those who master it and is now easier than ever to learn with the HTML 5 Application Development Fundamentals Hands-On lab, found in the Cybrary catalog.

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Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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