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Typescript vs JavaScript – What’s the difference?

Whether you're a seasoned developer navigating the ever-evolving landscape or a curious newcomer taking your first steps into the world of coding, understanding the differences between JavaScript and TypeScript is paramount. From the fundamental building blocks to the intricacies of type systems, we'll delve into the nuances that set these languages apart.

Typescript vs JavaScript – What’s the difference?


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JavaScript is well relied upon in web development as a scripting language. Not only does it enable you to create dynamically updated content, but it’s also the most common coding language used today.

Although it is a great tool for beginners, new inventions in the world of programming are beginning to emerge and one of them is TypeScript.

With its added features and tools, developers now face a choice between the familiar JavaScript and the promising new tool, TypeScript.

Here’s how you can decide.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is an interpreted programming language that is used primarily for web development and is one of the core technologies that enables dynamic and interactive elements on websites.

Developed in 1995, it has since become one of the most popular programming languages.

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is a relatively new programming language that was developed and maintained by Microsoft in 2012. It is a superset of JavaScript, meaning any valid JavaScript code is also valid TypeScript code.

#1 - Type System

JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, which allows variables to change at runtime. But why is this important?

Well, this flexibility facilitates quick coding and more interactive web pages. Although this provides developers with simplicity, it can potentially lead to type-related errors and, ultimately, make code maintenance more challenging.

On the other hand, TypeScript is a statically typed language. This means that variables, function parameters, and return values must have their types explicitly declared.

Static typing is great for beginners as it enables early error detection during development, enhances code reliability and makes it easier to understand and maintain the codebase.

#2 - Compilation

JavaScript is an interpreted language that runs directly in the browser or the JavaScript engine. This immediate execution allows for quick prototyping and ease of use, which many web developers prefer.

TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript. This means that any valid TypeScript also works with JavaScript. However, before running the code it needs to be compiled into plain JavaScript code using the TypeScript compiler (tsc).

This additional step allows developers to use TypeScript features and take advantage of the type checking while ensuring broad compatibility with existing JavaScript environments.

#3 - Language Features

JavaScript is a flexible language that offers essential programming constructs such as variables, functions, loops, and objects.

Despite its lack of advanced features found in other popular programmes, it is generally easy to get started with and has a shallow learning curve.

TypeScript extends JavaScript by introducing features such as static typing, interfaces, enums, classes and more. This class-based object-oriented programming approach is similar to languages such as Java or C#, making it easier to manage and reuse code components.

#4 - Community and Ecosystem

JavaScript has an enormous and vibrant community with countless libraries, frameworks, and tools available. It is supported by all major browsers and has extensive documentation and resources for developers of all skill levels.

TypeScript has been gaining popularity steadily and many JavaScript developers have embraced it. This has resulted in an active community for all levels of expertise.

As a result, JavaScript libraries have started providing TypeScript type definitions for enhanced tooling support.

#5 - Tooling Support

JavaScript development tools mainly focus on runtime aspects, such as browser developer tools, and Node.js consoles for code inspection and error tracing during execution.

TypeScript’s static typing allows for powerful tooling support. IDEs like Visual Studio Code offer advanced features such as autocompletion, type checking, refactoring suggestions, and error highlighting. These features further streamline development, reduce debugging time, and improve code quality.

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Become a Web Developer

Both JavaScript and TypeScript play vital roles in modern web development, with each offering distinct advantages.

The ultimate decision between JavaScript and TypeScript depends on several factors, including project size, scope, complexity, and long-term goals.

If you’re looking to progress your career in tech, then it’s a good idea to spend time understanding the different organisations for web development roles and the type of software they prefer.

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