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Scripting language built into web browsers.


Originally designed for the Netscape browser, the name "JavaScript" was chosen to associate with the "Java" programming language developed by Sun which, in 1995, was the first real option for making "live" code run over the web. Other than the name, there is no relation between JavaScript and Java. The formal name for JavaScript now is ECMAScript, but as this sounds more like a skin condition than a programming language, the name JavaScript has persisted.

The introduction of highly interactive "web apps" like Google Maps has helped to reduce some of the differences between browsers in their implementation of JavaScript (which made early JavaScript development quite a nightmare). Traditionally popular JavaScript frameworks like prototype and JQuery have helped to smooth over differences between browsers and led to many techniques (such as using CSS selectors in Javascript code, and "functional" style programming) more popular and better incoporated into "vanilla" javascript.

Node (2009) is an implementation of javascript designed to run outside of the browser aka server-side. Together with its related package manager npm, Node has made a huge impact on the ecosystem of javascript development and npm serves as a foundation for all kinds of javascript development workflows (whether or not the final "target" of a project is a (node) server and/or in the browser).

In 2021, javascript is a vibrant but complex development ecosystem. Important related projects & development communities are webpack and typescript, and frameworks like angular and react.

Data types



function hello (x) {
  console.log("Hello", x);

In practice, javascript functions are often defined "anonymously", as "callbacks" to events like mouse clicks.

let div = document.getElementById("button");

div.addEventListener("click", function (event) {
  console.log("HEY somebody clicked", event);

A newer compact "arrow" notation using the symbols "=>" is increasingly popular. (If you are doing things with classes, there's a subtle but important difference: An arrow function does not redefine the special symbol this -- which makes arrow functions convenient when writing callbacks in an object method (no more that variables needed).)

div.addEventListener("click", (event) => {
  console.log("HEY somebody clicked", event);


words = "Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away".split()

for w in words:
    print w
var words = "Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away".split(" ")

for (var i=0; i<words.length; i++) {

Promises & Asynchronous programming

Promises and new structures like async + await offer an alternative to working with callbacks.

Array methods: forEach() & map()

const array1 = ['a', 'b', 'c'];

array1.forEach(element => console.log(element));

// expected output: "a"
// expected output: "b"
// expected output: "c"


Fetch API & making HTTP requests

Loading external data was added to javascript via the XMLHTTPRequest object, spawning a set of practices called "AJAX". Modern browsers now support the so-called "Fetch API" that makes loading files relatively straightforward (and finally remove the need for libraries like jquery). As fetching is essentially asynchronous (it takes time, your code continues at some point in the future when it's done rather than directly), the API uses Promises. Note that there are two stages to a fetch: (1) The request itself, and (2) retrieving the "body" of the results as typically either JSON (the popular alternative of XML) or text.

  .then(response => response.json())
  .then(data => console.log(data));

Or avoiding callbacks with await...

async function getdata () {
  let resp = await fetch('');
  let data = await resp.json();
  console.log("we got data", data);

Read/write data to/from the server with PHP and fetch()

In this example data is a string saved into a .txt file: data.txt.

You can also work with json and save your data into a .json file: data.json.


PHP: read.php


# echo is what is print() in Python
echo "hello";

$filename = "data.txt";

$myfile = fopen($filename, "r") or die("Unable to open file!");
$data =  fread($myfile, filesize($filename));

# this will be taken as the response data in js
echo $data;




async function getdata(){
  let response = await fetch('read.php');
  let data = await response.text();
  console.log("data:", data);


PHP: write.php


echo $_GET["post"];
echo "<br>";

$filename = "data.json";

# read json data from data.json
$myfile = fopen($filename, "r") or die("Unable to open file!");
$data =  fread($myfile, filesize($filename));
$data_json = json_decode($data, true);

echo $data;
echo "<br>";

echo "<br>";

$currentcount = $data_json["a"];
echo "<br>";

$data_json["a"] = $currentcount + 1;
echo "<br>";

# write json data back to data.json
$myfile = fopen($filename, "w") or die("Unable to open file!");
fwrite($myfile, json_encode($data_json));



async function writedata(){
  let response = await fetch('write.php');

From Python

  • Curly braces ({}) instead of colons and indentation (:)
  • Indentation: still important for readability!
  • Semi-colons at ends of lines (though optional, good to get into the practice of using)
  • "var", "let" and "const" to announce a variable (technically optional but important to be explicit about scope)
  • "function" defines functions, also the new "splat" style ( => )
  • Implicit type conversion ("hello" + 7 = "hello7")


"Core" Documentation from

Online Tutorials


JS not-so-frequently asked Questions

What is the difference between "let" and "var"?

1) the initialization

var is initialize before it was defined. what means that?

console.log(something); //console returns a undefined
var something = "whatever";
console.log(something); // returns "whatever"

let is not initalized until its defined

console.log(something); //console returns ERROR
let something = "whatever";
console.log(something); // returns "whatever"

2) scoping

var belongs to the function body. what means var exists in the whole function! let belongs only inside the {}. what means it can for example only exist in a if statement Clear! Thanks

Oh one more question: can you also define a variable without using "var" or "let"?

there is const //cant be changed var, let and const I think are all! Nice oke!

If you work with an external JS file, what is good practice of placing it in a page? In the header? At the bottom of the body? Outside the body but inside the html element?

in the header I would do it but not sure. mhm. the only really important thing is that the library is first and then the code that uses the library. Does this mean that the page loads first (all the elements, including the media files, and the CSS), before the javascript is executed? good question, let me look that up!

"While the CSS is being parsed and the CSSOM created, other assets, including JavaScript files, are downloading (thanks to the preload scanner). JavaScript is interpreted, compiled, parsed and executed. The scripts are parsed into abstract syntax trees. Some browser engines take the Abstract Syntax Tree and pass it into an interpreter, outputting bytecode which is executed on the main thread. This is known as JavaScript compilation."

while css is parsed it downloads javascript.

When is JS making a page too heavy?

1) if it executes a lot of tasks in the background that are not necessary! javascript can be very heavy in performance and the cpu goes up. keep in mind javascript is totally necessary for almost everything that is used nowadays in the web. there would be no etherpad without js

2) js can make the traffic a little bit "bloated", the alternative would be vanilla js (only js without libraries) for example this website makes jokes about donwloading the library that is actually 0 bytes because vanilla js is just js and can be found in every browser! on the bottom of the website are some speed comparsions

How can we introduce the anti-JS religion? ;) And also critique it again

maybe this can be found in one of the principles of the permacomputing religion ah permacomputing, yes!