• 10 hours
  • Easy

Free online content available in this course.

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Last updated on 4/26/19

Understand JavaScript

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It's possible to learn programming without using a real programming language by just studying logic, but how boring is that? You should learn programming as a concept at the same time you learn a programming language so you can instantly put your logic into practice.

This course uses JavaScript as a learning language.

Le logo de JavaScript
JavaScript logo

JavaScript introduction

JavaScript is probably the main web programming language. It was invented in 1995 by Brendan Eich, who at the time worked for Netscape, which created the first popular web browser (Firefox's ancestor).

The idea was to create a simple language to make web pages dynamic and interactive, since back then, pages were very simple.

La page d'accueil de Yahoo en 1994
Yahoo's home page circa 1994

Web builders starting gradually enriching their pages by adding JavaScript code. For the code to work, the recipient web browser (the software used to surf the web) had to be able to process JavaScript. This language has been progressively integrated into all browsers, and now all browsers (almost) are able to handle it!

Because of the explosion of the Web and the advent of the web 2.0 (based on rich, interactive pages), JavaScript has become increasingly popular. Web browser designers have optimized the execution speed of JavaScript, which means it's now a very powerful language.

This led to the 2009 emergence of the Node.js platform, which even allows you to create whole server-side web apps in JavaScript. Thanks to a service called MongoDB, JavaScript has even entered the database world (software whose role is to store information).

Finally, the popularity of smartphones and tablets with different systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) has led to the emergence of so-called cross-platform development tools. They allow you to write a single mobile application that's compatible with these systems. These tools are almost always based on...JavaScript!

In short, JavaScript is everywhere. Knowing it will open the doors of the web browser-side programming (known as front-end development), server side development (backend), and mobile development. Not bad!

JavaScript versioning

JavaScript was standardized in 1997 under the name ECMAScript. Since then, the language has undergone several rounds of improvements to fix some awkwardness and support new features.

This course uses the current version of JavaScript, called ES5, introduced in 2009. The newest version of the language (SS6 / ES2015) will be interesting but is, at the time this course was written, not supported well enough by web browsers.

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement