Tech

Front-End Web Development: Alternatives to JavaScript

25 May 2017
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7 min

Coding, coding, and coding one more time. That is the way skilled programmers all over the world try to follow. There is a wide option of programming languages, and every developer can always find something applicable for him or her. But we cannot forget about the face of any mobile app or website - front-end. It is what attracts users' attention in the first turn. 

Today JavaScript is the main language for building websites. But you should know that there are several alternatives to this languages, although they can be used less often. Before we consider alternatives to JavaScript, let's see what is JavaScript itself in more detail.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is the language for building the interactivity of web pages. Using this language, you can create web applications included in HTML-code. It can be, for example, questionnaire or registration form to be filled in by users. JavaScript is often mixed up with Java programming language, however, they have little in common. JavaScript meaning relates to is a special language that exists independently.

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Using JavaScript, you can change your page, modify the style of elements, and add or delete tags. Moreover, you can always be aware of users' activity on this page, whether they are scrolling the page, pressing any button, clicking mouse, zooming screen etc. It makes it possible to get access to any HTML-code elements and make many manipulations with this element. You can download data without page refreshing, display messages, set cookies, and perform other actions.

All originality of this language stems from its support almost by any browser. JavaScript language is completely integrated with them. In addition, this language is easy to use. None of other front end development tools can boast having all these advantages together.

Language JavaScript

JavaScript language for the development of immersive front-end

Other languages available as a JavaScript alternative

Now it is time to find something similar to JavaScript. Let's go!

CoffeeScript

It is a small programming language that is compiled to JavaScript. It implements many features from Ruby and Python languages. Why is CoffeeScript good?

Firstly, CoffeeScript has a serious advantage - it allows users to write less code what makes it special from other front-end development languages. Usually, CoffeeScript code can occupy from third to half of original JS code. Besides, CoffeeScript has some interesting capabilities like massif builders, prototype alias, and classes. All of this allows users to shorten code amount.

It is worth noting that CoffeeScript is not a subset of JavaScript. Although you can access to external libraries in CS code, you will get a syntax error, if you try to compile clean JS code. Also, CS is compiled into clean JS, not interpreting. It can be used also with the server part like Node.js.

Anyway, you should be acquainted with JS to write CS code. Bugs analysis during code implementation requires JS experience. So, CoffeeScript has the following disadvantages:

  • It requires compilation. But CoffeeScript is trying to generate clean and readable code;
  • A rather small community at the moment. It is quite difficult to find CS developers;
  • It is not so rich in features as JavaScript. 

That is what CoffeeScript is. If you are interested in it, you can always start learning it.

JavaScript alternative

CoffeeScript: one of the most applicable alternative to JS

Dart

Dart is a new class-oriented programming language for the building of structured web applications. It is developed by Google company as the direct counterpart of JavaScript.

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React versus Angular

It creates structured and flexible programming language for the web. Dart is positioned as a very convenient tool for web developers as this language demonstrates high performance. Also, Dart is supported by many popular Integrated Development Environments (IDE) like IDEA, WebStorm, Atom, Emacs, Visual Studio, Sublime Text, Vim.

Google is developing its language actively and it releases new updates every 2-3 months. In addition, Dart also has a very good standard library that gives developers endless opportunities. But among the benefits of Dart, there are the same disadvantages as CoffeeScript language has. Small community and not so large amount of benefits comparing to benefits of JavaScript.

TypeScript

Language for the development of web application that extends capabilities of JavaScript language. It was developed by Microsoft company in 2012.

Unlike CoffeeScript, TypeScript is backward compatible with JavaScript. It is compiled into JavaScript, and then TypeScript program can be used in any modern browser. As a CoffeeScript, TypeScript can be used together with Node.js platform.

Main differences of TypeScript from JavaScript are the following:

  • Static typing;
  • Support of full-fledged classes;
  • Support of modules connection. 

The main disadvantages of TypeScript are typical: a small community, as well as it takes more time for the development than when you use JavaScript.

ClojureScript

ClojureScript is a compiler for Clojure programming language that is compiled to JavaScript. It is designed to emit JavaScript code which is compatible with the advanced compilation mode of the Google Closure optimizing compiler. So it is necessary to understand the JavaScript definition.

Clojure is a functional programming language for the Java Virtual Machine. Since ClojureScript compiles to JavaScript, it can run in all browsers, on any mobile devices, and it can work with on Node.js as well.

It has not so great runtime as JavaScript has. But it has good interoperation with JavaScript that makes it possible to drop down from ClojureScript to JavaScript when you need it. Not bad language for front-end coding.

JavaScript language reference

ClojureScript: language for working with JS programming platforms

Opal

An object-oriented programming language that serves as a source-to-source compiler from Ruby to JavaScript.

It is created to replace C, C++, Java, C#, Eiffel, JavaScript and other programming languages. It shall improve on current object-oriented languages, but is not popular today among developers. Today it cannot become a serious competitor to JavaScript but it is surely included in the list of front-end developer technologies.

Elm

Functional language created for building for graphic interfaces based on the browser. It becomes very popular among JavaScript developers. This language is new, and those who started learning functional programming can choose this language if they plan to engage in front-end development.

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Elm can be compiled to JavaScript without problems and it has many advantages. One of them is a good compiler. Apart from easy compiling to JavaScript, all errors bring a lot of useful information, not only notification.

Also, it has useful front-end web development tools. The code is formatting itself without user intervention. Some developers think that this language could evolve to the most serious competitor of JavaScript.

Kaffeine

It is more a tool than an independent programming language. It extends JavaScript syntax, and Kaffeine code matches compile JavaScript programming language code string to string. This tool is created to simplify app debugging.

Kaffeine is designed for pros that want to have more capabilities when they use JavaScript.

Roy

This language was created as experimental. It is also one of the languages that compile to JavaScript code. It includes features of static functional languages like whitespace significant syntax, simpl tagged unions, pattern matching, structural typing.

Roy is close to JavaScript semantics and it simplifies code generation. But there is the same problem as with all JavaScript alternatives mentioned above - the lack of popularity among users.

Advantages of JavaScript

And the last language that remains the main language in this family. We mean the family of JavaScript languages, of course. Despite the fact, there are many alternatives you can choose from, it is JavaScript language that will be implemented into the browser. Why so?

Advantages of using JavaScript

Popularity of JavaScript in the world

None of the present-day browsers can operate without JavaScript support. So JavaScript benefits are obvious. Apart from it, even users far from programming can use plugins and scripts written in JavaScript without any problems. There are useful functional settings. Also, it is impossible to ignore its permanent upgrading - new beta-version of the language JavaScript2 is being developed.

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At the same time, JavaScript advantages allow you to interact with the web app even using text editors like Microsoft Office and Open Office. And the last one - you will always be in demand as a specialist since 95% of front-end is developed in JavaScript.

Therefore, if you need high-skilled specialists in JS, you can always contact us as a skilled web and app development company. Your ideas will be turned into reality. And the subscription to our blog is already waiting for you!

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