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A blog about software development best practices, how-tos, and tips from practitioners.

5 JavaScript Alternatives for Front End Development

5 JavaScript Alternatives for Front End Development

In the web-based world, a website of an organization is the first impression and its first interaction with users. Front-end development of a web page becomes crucial in this context and it has been modernized the web development process in more efficient nowadays.

You might observe some websites and wonder, “How did these frontend developers make the website so interactive?” The simple answer is JavaScript. JavaScript is the most popular language of the web-end development. JavaScript is currently being used by more than 95% of the websites as the client-side scripting language.

However, that doesn’t mean the language is without any downsides. Its constant mix of libraries and frameworks demands a significant amount of time to master. It requires more code and it has a greater chance of getting repetitive, tangled and buggy.

This initiated a search for alternatives to JavaScript. While most companies prefer JavaScript for front-end development, some companies hire developers who can handle JavaScript alternatives – mainly to tackle the front-end development differently.

Gone are the days when JavaScript was the only platform for front-end development. Several supersets are emerging under the umbrella of JavaScript. Amongst all these flavors of JavaScript, five of them established themselves as better JavaScript alternatives for front-end development.

1. Typescript

Developing large-scale cloud software and cross-platform apps with JavaScript is a common practice but it includes some challenges. Since JavaScript was developed to be a client-side scripting language for websites, it includes limitations when it is used in enterprise scale projects including lack of object-oriented programming practices.

Typescript solves some of these limitations. This object-oriented programming language is gaining popularity in the front-end development with 80% of developers stating that they would use Typescript in their next project. Microsoft developed this language and it comes as the superset of JavaScript with backward compatibility. It behaves similar to JavaScript but with a few additional features. You can covert the Typescript code (.ts file) into JavaScript (.js file) using TypeScript Compiler (TSC). The TSC ensures cleaner code by running the code for errors. It is widely used for front-end JavaScript applications and Node.js-powered back-end apps.

If you need a JavaScript alternative for constructing a larger project, Typescript is a conservative choice for creating a cleaner JavaScript codebase.

Reasons to choose Typescript

  • Improved JavaScript
  • Powerful development tool
  • Great scalability
  • Powerful type system
  • Aligned with ECMAScript
  • Generics support

2. CoffeeScript

Over the past few years, CoffeeScript has taken the world of web development by storm. It is just JavaScript, but with the power of an elegant and friendly language package. It enables front-end developers to write faster and cleaner JavaScript by using abbreviations.

Code example of JavaScript (jQuery) and CoffeeScript:

Image1-87CoffeeScript is an effective and portable programming language that can compile into JavaScript. With more consistent syntax and advanced features like splats, list comprehensions, and classes, it allows you to write JavaScript code more easily. Its easy code readability feature ensures easy maintenance and is less prone to errors & bugs.  It can be integrated with advanced tools like Grunt that makes compiling, minifying, running and managing code much easier. 

JavaScript requires you to write long code, but CoffeeScript code is simple & small as well as executes faster than JavaScript code.

Reasons to choose CoffeeScript

  • Offers JavaScript compilation
  • Easy Testing
  • Source code clear mapping
  • Eliminates useless things
  • Ruby on rails integrated

3. ClojureScript

If you need a solid JavaScript alternative, then you have to welcome ClojureScript warmly. ClojureScript is a version of Clojure language and it can be compiled into JavaScript. The major feature of Clojure, which takes our attention quickly, is its support in using existing Java libraries through Java Interop syntax. With Clojure, you can leverage existing JavaScript and Clojure libraries.

This programming language smoothly works in almost all browsers and is compatible with Node.js and mobile platforms. This well-designed language solves JavaScript quirks like number array sorting, function context, hoisting, and the list goes on. Clojure tackles complex distributed systems simply while being extensible.

Reasons to choose ClojureScript

  • Interoperability
  • Immutable data structures
  • Functional Programming
  • Runtime Polymorphism
  • Productivity
  • Dynamic Development

4. Elm

Functional programming provides safer apps with fewer runtime errors, but it was hard to discover a functional solution that is type-safe and simple to use until the Elm programming language.

Elm is an entirely new language built on functional paradigms with reactive programming as a core concept. It guarantees zero run-time errors in production code with its advanced type system. Elm aims to achieve clean web front-end architecture using better HTML rendering performances and several other features. The elm-ui libraries help you to build a website with complete independence from JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Moreover, the elm code is robust, easy to maintain, and includes lower long-term costs.

Reasons to choose Elm

  • No Runtime Exceptions
  • Great Performance
  • Small Assets
  • Enforced Semantic Versioning
  • JavaScript Interop

5. Dart

Dart is not the newest language in web development, and several new features make it a cool JavaScript alternative to choose. Every business wants more work to be achieved in a short period. This is where this structured programming language shines.

Everything, including syntax, is developed to enhance productivity; hence, even complex activities can be completed with ease with Dart. With JIT and AOT, Dart helps you to develop the apps faster compared to JavaScript. It supports open & robust prototyping, and it is much more type-safe. Google has developed this programming language to replace JavaScript with several key features.

Reasons to choose Dart

  • Fully object-oriented
  • Super portable
  • Easy to learn
  • High productivity
  • One language, many platforms

From attractive websites, complex web apps to mobile apps on Android & iOS phones, there is an increased demand in front-end development. This demand can’t just be met with JavaScript itself. Several JavaScript alternatives, which compile to this JavaScript to satisfy the needs, have been evolving continuously. You should analyze and select the best one for your programming needs. Moreover, the community of JavaScript is constantly working to enhance its ecosystem as well.

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