I’ll be blunt and say that JavaScript isn’t a good programming language. It has many unexpected quirks, it’s terminology for things is nonstandard, there’s no single styleguide for it, etc.

But it’s still one of my favourite languages, for three reasons:

  • It’s dead simple to learn. JS is the first language I taught myself, and I managed to understand the base principles within 30 minutes of reading. This is, of course, helped by the fact that JS is a hugely popular language with tons and tons of guides.
  • It’s very extensible. JS doesn’t pack much by itself, but with Node’s npm, your package can be as compact or as gigantic as you need it to be for your project.
  • Its syntax makes sense. You might have read the previous two points and thought, “But Python matches these criteria, and it’s also a way better language!”, and you’d be right; it is. But Python code looks like someone vomited pseudocode into an interpreter and it worked (seriously, x or not(y) that’s disgusting). JavaScript looks like code. This also means that someone who knows JS will have an easier time learning more languages, compared to a Python user.

These three points are why I encourage people to start with JavaScript as their introduction to coding, knowing full well that JS doesn’t have any real applications1.

  1. ..and yet I have an ongoing Electron project. ↩︎

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