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Alpha_ProgDes

Will there ever be another language of the web?

43 posts in this topic

Javascript is always referred to as the language of the web. In very much the same way that C/C++ was at one time the language of performant code (i have a feeling it still is). However, I wonder if there's any other language that could do what Javascript could do or is better alternative to Javascript, as far as client-side scripting of web pages goes. In short, if you could replace Javascript with a viable and reasonable alternative what would it be?

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Python, maybe. It's already used server-side for alot of websites.

 

I don't see that ever happening. Google is trying with Dart, but that "compiles" to Javascript in the end anyway. Good luck getting Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Opera, etc to agree on a language to run client side code. The best we'll probably see are projects like Dark, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, etc.

 

That being said, Javascript can be a great language if used properly!

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JavaScript is an interesting language.

The language wasn't that great to begin with and has grown more warts over the years. It was growing during the browser wars and has picked up quite a lot of cruft in order to accommodate quirks of hundreds of browser bugs. The language has been extended many times and there are many things that ought to be simple but require significant effort either directly or by importing libraries that hide those complexity and compatibility issues.

The Internet is always evolving. I'm experienced to realize that neither JavaScript nor HTML will be on the top forever. You asked an existential question, "will there EVER be another language..." and so I'm going to answer yes, barring some cataclysmic end of the world as we know it, there will eventually be something else.

Recall that JavaScript was Netscape's baby and they had to fight hard against the JScript alternative. Even the renaming from "LiveScript" to "JavaScript" was a push for the language's survival, (successfully) attempting to piggyback on Java's successes.

JavaScript has many flaws. It has horrible memory-consuming habits. Even after a decade of optimizations the interpreted language still can bring modern machines to a crawl, and completely halt lesser machines like phones and tablet. Even my tablet (quad core Tegra 3 with 1GB RAM) runs out of memory on relatively benign jquery scripts. It is interpreted and still has heavy reliance on quirks of the browser that is interpreting it. Attempting to build anything with it, such as complex user interfaces, is a full time job for many people but it needn't be.

Most people don't know enough to care that the reason "the Internet is slow" is in part because of the massive body of JavaScript churning in the background.

Google introduced Dart which in some ways competes with JavaScript, even though it can be compiled to JavaScript. The ability to be run directly (and also to have a smaller memory footprint) rather than through a browser's interpreter is a big benefit.

Several current languages COULD do it. But right now there is little commercial incentive to do it. The language with all its flaws is currently standardized (as ECMAScript) and it is well supported.
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JavaScript has many flaws. It has horrible memory-consuming habits. Even after a decade of optimizations the interpreted language still can bring modern machines to a crawl, and completely halt lesser machines like phones and tablet. Even my tablet (quad core Tegra 3 with 1GB RAM) runs out of memory on relatively benign jquery scripts. It is interpreted and still has heavy reliance on quirks of the browser that is interpreting it. Attempting to build anything with it, such as complex user interfaces, is a full time job for many people but it needn't be.

Most people don't know enough to care that the reason "the Internet is slow" is in part because of the massive body of JavaScript churning in the background.

 

Are we talking about JavaScript here or JavaScript developers? Like any language, it's horribly abused by the majority of people writing it. This is made worse by many people thinking it's not a real programming language which cause them to be much more careless with it than they would if they were writing something in C, C#, Java, etc. 

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I remember when Action Script use to be king of the web.

 

 In my own opinion, AS is a more dynamic language than JS, however the question is "what is the next big thing? " .

 

 I really don't know. Dart is the only major alternative "language" out there, with nothing else being offered for the client side.

(( technically Java is client side, however no one used that anymore in web design ))

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JavaScript has many flaws. It has horrible memory-consuming habits. Even after a decade of optimizations the interpreted language still can bring modern machines to a crawl, and completely halt lesser machines like phones and tablet.

 

It is java script specyfic or this is related in equal to more such high level scripting languages with implicit garbage colection? if for example python would be used in browsers would it be better? (I know javascript very little, by lookin on some game sources written in it and these sources looked quite nice, much more condensed than c yet highly readable, and dynamic of the game was also quite high, I was surprised with that)

Edited by fir
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w3c is completely vested in not allowing competing development technologies on the web.

 

Imagine if all operating systems only came bundled with the ability to run 1 language?

 

its total anti-competitive.

 

JavaScript is a waste of time and money, it easily takes 10x longer to make stuff using JavaScript / html than the next alternative. There used to interesting websites built with advancing technologies, every year they got more bells and whistles, now there are none. People hi fived themselves when they can run quake2 in a browser in javascript a few years ago. Congratz your tech runs like its 15 years old.

 

all plugins should work in all browsers as a standard.

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Am I wrong or is compiling Dart to JavaScript just a temporary solution? I thought they will try to really establish it once Browsers implement a certain planned abstraction standard that will allow other scripting languages besides JavaScript to run natively.

 

Does anybody think browsers might not survive? That operating systems and apps will replace them and that the internet will get more of a structure somehow?

I think in the not so distant future programs will have to be written for ridiculous amounts of CPUs ... technologies like OpenCL will probably play a role then.

IMO a seamless online experience makes sense. The whole browser technology still thinks in pages.

I personally am hoping that there will be a disruptive new technology and cumbersome web development for several different browsers will be obsolete at some point.

 

Then again, I also hope we will design software soon, rather than program it (abstract development without worrying about the programming / scripting languages). happy.png

Edited by DareDeveloper
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@ DareDeveloper

 

 Java and Flash use to promise that, however almost no one likes to program web sites around those platforms any more, due to the fact they are "slow to develop".

Companies want their web sites made as quickly as possible - "as long as it works, who cares if it's efficient"  is their motto wacko.png

Edited by Shippou
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For clarity, I'm not arguing whether or not Javascript is bad, but I'm wondering if there could be other or even better alternatives to Javascript.

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For clarity, I'm not arguing whether or not Javascript is bad, but I'm wondering if there could be other or even better alternatives to Javascript.

 

Yes there can, and yes there are.  They are generally implemented as browser plugins. Flash and Java are the two prime examples, and Shockwave, Silverlight/Moonlight, and the Unity3D Plugin are also fairly popular.

 

Flash has gained native browser support for several browsers. Java once had direct browser support for a time both through Netscape and through what was once called the HotSpot web browser; the release model and continuous flow of bugs made Netscape decouple it, and HotSpot evolved out of being a compiler attached to a generic web browser, it dropped the browser aspect moving into a general Java development tool.

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JavaScript is definitely not the quickest programming language out there. As Brandon Jones, the creator of the glMatrix lib, said about JS libs:  "Even the most naive of C matrix libs would run circles around the best javascript libs." No matter what you end up doing, JS just isn't going to be quick, although engines like V8 have helped a lot.

 

I don't think JS is going anywhere anytime soon. It's seen a resurgence in the past few years and newer, shinier technologies are building on it, like WebGL. Combine that with popular libs like Node.js and jQuery and you've got a recipe for staying power. There are certainly other languages out there better suited for any task than JS, but they might never overtake JS's popularity. I'd say, for right now, it's the language of the client-side Web.

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In my own opinion, AS is a more dynamic language than JS,

This answered my question.

 

 

 

however the question is "what is the next big thing? " .

This completely twisted my question into something else smile.png

 

I know that ClojureScript has been trying to make some headway into the client-side arena.

Edited by Alpha_ProgDes
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The last two languages I've toyed with have been ActionScript 3 and JavaScript. I certainly don't have anything more than a basic knowledge of either, but I really wasn't especially impressed with ActionScript. Some of its features seemed nice on paper, but didn't work that well in practice. The first example that comes to mind is working with a class (not written by me) that had variable number of constructor arguments (with the ... notation). It worked perfectly fine until I needed to extend that class and found that there was in fact no way to pass those arguments to the superconstructor. I guess the idea is that you wouldn't use a variable number of arguments in that case, but it still seemed like a pretty arbitrary limitation to me.

In any event, I don't think JavaScript is necessarily better (and it certainly has weird quirks), but at least so far I haven't found myself desperately wishing I was using ActionScript instead. I could change my opinion as I gain more experience, but for now I wouldn't be too sad if Flash just kind of went away altogether, and it does seem that its dominance is waning quite a bit.

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Because we can now compile almost *anything* into Javascript, and the ability will only increase, I don't think it's a problem.

 

Everyone is now targetting Javascript - Adobe Flash, we have LLVM (enscripten). And Mozilla's "asm.js" - which is just an extension of Javascript (actually, erm, a reduced set of JS, but with an efficient native compiler) means that we might be able to approach (in some cases) native performance using Javascript.

 

So I think that all the other things - Dart, NaCl etc, are just distractions, all roads appear to lead to Javascript. Although we're all using js under the covers, many of us won't be writing much of it however.

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Yes there can, and yes there are.  They are generally implemented as browser plugins. Flash and Java are the two prime examples, and Shockwave, Silverlight/Moonlight, and the Unity3D Plugin are also fairly popular.

 

By what definition are flash and java better than Javascript for the web? They are both dying out rather quickly now and for a good reason.

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Yes there can, and yes there are.  They are generally implemented as browser plugins. Flash and Java are the two prime examples, and Shockwave, Silverlight/Moonlight, and the Unity3D Plugin are also fairly popular.

 

By what definition are flash and java better than Javascript for the web? They are both dying out rather quickly now and for a good reason.

 

 Java is still going strong for app development ...

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Am I wrong or is compiling Dart to JavaScript just a temporary solution? I thought they will try to really establish it once Browsers implement a certain planned abstraction standard that will allow other scripting languages besides JavaScript to run natively.

 

And what motivation does Microsoft or Mozilla have to run Dart in their browsers?

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By what definition are flash and java better than Javascript for the web? They are both dying out rather quickly now and for a good reason.

 Java is still going strong for app development ...

 

We're talking about website front ends. However it's been a while since I've seen a Java desktop app. There are simply better tools to use for GUI development than Java. 

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means that we might be able to approach (in some cases) native performance using Javascript.


Maybe in simple contrived benchmarks but the problem facing JavaScript (and all languages which abstract data types) is that while you might be able to get ALU close good luck not pissing away your memory bandwidth with even the most trivial of operations which, in an increasingly mobile world, isn't a small problem at all.

On a related note : http://sealedabstract.com/rants/why-mobile-web-apps-are-slow/
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Am I wrong or is compiling Dart to JavaScript just a temporary solution? I thought they will try to really establish it once Browsers implement a certain planned abstraction standard that will allow other scripting languages besides JavaScript to run natively.

 

And what motivation does Microsoft or Mozilla have to run Dart in their browsers?

 

I just thought I read about that once ... a while ago when I looked into Dart. Guess I remember that wrong.

I thought I read that multi scripting language support was part of a W3C standard which will be implemented by all browsers eventually.

But I guess it might have been some Google marketing text that just sounded that optimistic.

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Javascript is an Object oriented scripting language. It has been designed by a hell of a genius. It leaves no interpretation misunderstandings for browser if you leave out DOM. It is a memory collected language and thus the fact that objects members are created dynamicaly does not take much down the performance of it (mem collected languages are pooled). If you write correct memory instancing/droping, it runs smooth as native stuff. It is open to browser compilation greatly, but that is also a benefit. Computer has 64bit floaitng registers? Your operations are all 64 floats then, and so on. In next years, OS will be the browser and program will be the javascript code. Browsers will compete in this, and breathtaking applications will take place.

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Javascript is an Object oriented scripting language.

No it's not.

 

It's multiparadigm, and while it supports object oriented programming, it is not limited to OOP. In fact, functional and imperative programming often work better in JS than traditional OOP, especially since JS is prototype-based (which the most popular languages are not, which means your traditional OOP methods likely suck in JS and you have to learn how to do prototype-based OOP).

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