Will Javascript Become Obsolete Or Replaced?

Hear ye, the end of Javascript is near. It does not perform well on mobile, has no access to GPS, microphones, and cameras – So chanted the doomsayers in the year 2000. Guess what? Javascript has evolved and become a lot over the years, it is still alive and kicking today.

No, Javascript is not in danger of becoming obsolete nor will it be replaced anytime soon. In fact, the usage of Javascript has expanded beyond web pages and it is one of the most popular programming languages.

 

But doomsayers will still be doomsayers, they will continue to chant “the end is near” despite all the positive trends. So let us look at hard data, facts, and history to show why Javascript is here to stay – Read on!

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Quick Introduction Truth & Facts Actual Bloopers
The End

 

A QUICK INTRODUCTION

Right, let us start with a quick introduction for beginners, and what are some of the fears that led to people thinking that Javascript will become obsolete.

 

REALLY QUICK HISTORY OF JAVASCRIPT

For you total beginner code ninjas who have not touched on Javascript before:

  • Javascript initially started in the 1990s as a “simple web-based language”. That is, the initial idea of Javascript is an easy programming language to empower websites.
  • It eventually became one of the most popular programming languages for creating web pages, nearly all websites use Javascript today.
  • But Javascript did not stop there. It continued to evolve over the years and is even used to run applications on servers with platforms such as NodeJS.

You can read the full history on Wikipedia if you want to.

 

WHY IS JAVASCRIPT GOING “OBSOLETE” THEN?

If Javascript is such a popular programming language, then the million-dollar question is – Why are some people saying Javascript is going to become extinct? Well, reading from all over the Internet, everyone seems to have their own beliefs and misunderstandings:

  • Javascript has poor performance.
  • It does not support multi-threading, parallel, and background processing.
  • It does not support modern-day mobile devices well. Cannot handle GPS, web camera, microphones, voice recognition, voice commands, etc…
  • Javascript is not good for creating games, it does not have good 3D graphics support.
  • Javascript is too simplistic and cannot handle complex applications.
  • It is only meant for web applications, and cannot go beyond that.
  • It will eventually be taken over by something with better performance and has more features.

So yes, a lot of these are “false fears”. But there are actually a few good valid points. Let us address them below.

 

 

THE TRUTH & FACTS

Next, let us address some facts and truths about Javascript in this section – Why Javascript is here to stay a long time.

 

JAVASCRIPT FEATURES IN A NUTSHELL

A lot of the “Javascript does not support modern features” claims are false, coming from not-so-intelligent trolls with a serious lack of knowledge.

  • Javascript does support multi-threading, parallel, and background processing.
  • Javascript also does support a lot of modern mobile features.
  • Yes, it also supports hardware-accelerated 3D graphics rendering and can be used to create browser games. Check out the three.js Javascript 3D engine if you are interested.
  • Beginner Javascript is simplistic. But it is also a very capable programming language for handling complex requirements. Check out NodeJS – Javascript used to build server-side applications, working with databases, real-time systems, and all kinds of “complicated yoga”.
  • Finally, yes, we can also use HTML, CSS, Javascript to build mobile applications through frameworks such as Apache Cordova and Ionic.

The key point here – Javascript has evolved a lot over the years to catch up with modern needs, and it will continue to do so.

 

TREND & INTEREST

Still not convinced that Javascript is actually capable and here to stay for a long time? Let us go through some hard data and numbers here. Starting with Google Trends showing a generally stable interest for “Learn Javascript”, “Learn React”, and “Learn Angular”.

So yes, we can kind of predict this trend to continue, and Javascript is going to survive.

 

 

JAVASCRIPT POPULARITY

Top languages over time (source: Github)

Following up with Google Trends, Github has also shown a similar stable trend. In fact, Javascript has remained the most popular programming language on Github for straight years; The number of Javascript-based modules, frameworks, and projects has skyrocketed over the years – React, Vue, Angular, NodeJS, jQuery, etc…

 

NUMBER OF JAVASCRIPT-ENABLED WEBSITES & DEVICES

Of course, a few of the doomsayers are going to say – Google and Github do not have all the data in the world, and trends don’t mean anything. But how about considering these?

There are over 1.5 billion websites on the world wide web today. Of these, less than 200 million are active.

Internetlivestats.com

JavaScript is used as client-side programming language by 97.8% of all the websites.

W3 Techs

No one has the exact stats, but let’s just give a conservative estimate that 90% of the websites worldwide use Javascript. That is a whopping more than 1.35 billion Javascript-enabled websites worldwide today.

Above that, let us not forget there are a ton of Javascript-enabled devices, and Javascript is used to run server-side applications – We can safely say that Javascript is definitely staying, and not going to disappear overnight.

 

 

ACTUAL BLOOPERS

But of course, Javascript is not the “perfect programming language”. Some of the points raised by smart code ninjas are actually valid.

 

THE ACTUAL JAVASCRIPT FAILS

  • While Javascript does support 3D graphics, the performance level is still behind the native applications. There is also a lack of good Javascript game libraries to be of any good for “serious game development”.
  • The overall performance of Javascript in web browsers is still way behind native applications.
  • Javascript is focused too much on cloud-based applications. It is generally lacking in “native app” features and performance.
  • Javascript is not a friendly language for building desktop and mobile applications. We need to use 3rd party frameworks and platforms (such as Apache Cordova and Ionic) to do that.
  • Something called Web Assembly may eventually overtake Javascript. In layman terms – Downloading a mini mobile app, and running it without any installation required.

 

WILL JAVASCRIPT BE REPLACED?

No time traveler has spoken up and said: “Hey guys, X has replaced Javascript in the year 2077″… Nor has anyone consulted with the stars on the future of Javascript. But just a personal opinion – I do think that the heavily web-based Javascript will eventually become obsolete with changes on how the Internet works.

There has been a trend of applications moving towards streaming, cloud-based, virtual reality (VR), and even augmented reality (AR). Javascript may eventually become irrelevant if it does not reinvent itself to follow up with all the onslaught of new features and demands.

So who knows? Nobody can truly predict the future. Web Assembly may actually replace Javascript with its capabilities. It could also be Java, C, or a new dark horse.

 

 

IS IT STILL WORTH LEARNING?

For you guys who are still wondering if Javascript is worth learning after all this… Javascript is easily one of the most popular programming languages, it is used in almost all websites, and slowly expanding into other spaces as well. So the question is – Is there a good reason to not learn Javascript?

 

ALL GOOD THINGS MAY STILL END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end of this guide. I hope that it has helped you to better understand. Javascript is definitely here to stay, and for a good long time. But who knows? Time can be ruthless and the demand for things can change.

Remember mIRC? Netscape? ICQ? Even the giants can fall, Javascript is not an exception. If you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!

6 thoughts on “Will Javascript Become Obsolete Or Replaced?”

  1. Usage is a very poor metric for popularity, while considering that the majority of web developers hate using JavaScript so much that they build transpiling abstractions on top of it. As soon as the sites are ported to web assembly, JavaScript will die out over a night.

    1. “Majority of web developers hate Javascript” – Any reliable polls and data to substantiate your claims? 😉 If not, that is purely your personal opinion, not a fact.

      “As soon as the sites are ported to web assembly” – When? What percentage of websites have adopted WebAssembly? How fast is the adoption rate growing? How many businesses have so far been willing to invest and switch? That’s the reality of things… It is a colossal effort and cost to switch billions of Javascript developers, users, devices, and apps to WebAssembly – So I am not buying your point on “Javascript will die overnight” either.

      My point on “possible to slowly die out” remains though.

      1. Well at least in my circle of acquaintances, people do hate JS. But I do agree with you, it’s not a measured statistic, so it’s mainly an opinion, I share with David.

        I think people like us, that do hate it, want to still believe it will become obsolete soon. And it was close to it just before NodeJS popped out. All things considered that hate might be the drive to make the switch sooner. I for one would advocate in the company I work for.

      2. There’s one school that advocates web assembly, there’s also another that says it will be a white elephant. Then, there’s another that says Typescript should be the defacto. I stand on neither side and keep my fingers crossed. You guys can fight for whatever “rightful cause” you want. I will just enjoy my popcorn. 😆

        Check out PWA and the offline app examples on this blog though. I believe that is the immediate future. Javascript or not.

    1. You probably live in a cave, crawled out from a well, or came from a dimension called “foolish”.

      1) Java and Javascript are 2 totally different languages.
      2) I don’t paint a rosy picture, I don’t paint doomsday either. Only facts as-it-is.

      Point form for your pea-sized brain:

      3) FACT – Javascript is one of the most popular languages today.
      4) FACT – It may eventually lose if it does not follow up with the demand for new features and better performance.
      5) FACT – No one can predict how the world will change, even giants can fall.

      Since your unfortunate binary “YES-NO” brain sees 1300 words as Mount Everest, and does not have the capacity to process facts – Take “NO, not going to expire any time soon” as the answer.

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