Is JavaScript ready for serious development? – Conclusion

In a series of posts, I tried to explore JavaScript as a development platform and my conclusion is that JavaScript is not ideal for complex projects right now.

It’s certainly possible to create complex applications with JavaScript but the development and maintenance cost will definitely be higher than it would be for more strongly typed platforms like Java and Flash due to the looseness and primitive nature of the language, inconsistent runs across different browsers, and lack of mature/standard tooling around it.

Bad news: Most developers are stuck with JavaScript due to HTML5 madness. Good news: There are some great efforts, such as Google Closure Library, that recognize the shortcomings of JavaScript and provide tools to minimize the pain to a degree.

In the near term, I think we’ll see more tools and frameworks to address the shortcomings of JavaScript, so that’s not too bad of an issue but the inconsistencies among different browsers is a harder problem to solve because it involves browser vendors to cooperate and that doesn’t happen too often.

Whether you like Flash or not, one great value it provides is the consistent runtime across different browsers backed by a mature language like ActionScript 3. Consistency and maturity enabled serious development in Flash and sooner or later, JavaScript will have to provide the same level of consistency and maturity across different screens.

This could happen with more advanced tooling, or it could happen by transforming JavaScript into a more mature and extensive language and getting browser vendors stick with standards. One thing is certain though, it’s going to take time, and as it happens, I probably won’t help thinking “But Java/Flash had this 10 years ago!”

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2 thoughts on “Is JavaScript ready for serious development? – Conclusion

  1. Yep, java/flash had it ten years ago, but they also needed a plugin; an extra software for the browser. With commonjs standards and stuff like nodejs, I believe javascript is getting ready for prime-time. I don’t know how successful Dart will be, but it sure is gonna need a lot of help from google to push its acceptance.

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