Web design

Alternatives to Javascript for Front-end Developers

Front-end developers create the look and feel of a website or application — the parts a visitor or user can see and interact with. JavaScript is the language of choice for this purpose, given its ability to allow developers to create interactive aspects of the site or app with HTML, including forms, clickable buttons, questionnaires, zooming screens, and scrolling features. Developers are also able to monitor and gather data about users’ interactions with their product and adjust the features accordingly.

JavaScript is compatible with almost every existing browser and has multipurpose functions. But there are some alternatives that offer plenty of benefits to front-end developers. Businesses looking to hire software developers should be knowledgeable about the professionals’ tools and languages of choice and understand how they will affect their end product. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.

8 alternatives to JavaScript for front-end development

1. ClojureScript

ClojureScript compiles — translates human language into machine language — to JavaScript, which makes it a solid multipurpose alternative. Organizations that hire development teams that use ClojureScript can expect the programming language to run on multiple devices and nearly any browser, making it a good choice for apps and sites that need to perform reliably on mobile devices, tablets, and computers.

The runtime is not as good as JavaScript, but given ClojureScript’s compatibility with JS, front-end developers can switch mid-project if necessary.

2. CoffeeScript

CoffeeScript is also compiled to JavaScript. One huge advantage is that it enables front-end developers to write less code than they would typically need to do. So if you want to hire software developers and are short on time, this language may be the way to go. It also produces a very readable code.

It’s helpful to have experience with JavaScript in order to use CoffeeScript, since some features, including debugging, require JavaScript knowledge. Some disadvantages include few special features and a relatively small community of users, making trouble-shooting difficult.

3. Dart

Built by Google as an alternative to JavaScript, Dart is ideal for developing non-browser applications, although it can also be used for browser websites. It offers plenty of flexibility and updates, although, like CoffeeScript, it has a somewhat small community. It can be used for applications on multiple devices, and one notable advantage is that many errors common in JavaScript do not appear in Dart.

4. Elm

The newcomer Elm was created specifically as a front-end language, so for organizations planning to hire software developers focusing exclusively on the user side, this language can be valuable. One important feature is that it eliminates virtually all bugs on the front-end side during development. As a functional language, Elm is less complex and difficult to use than some of its peers including JavaScript, with virtually no runtime errors.

5. Kaffeine

While not precisely a coding language, Kaffeine is a tool for compiling JavaScript code, ultimately simplifying the process of debugging and completing your project. This is not a tool for beginners — it’s more for programmers who need greater functionality when using Javascript — so you will need to hire software developers with plenty of experience to use it when building your project.

6. Opal

Opal is a Ruby to JavaScript compiler. It has plenty of support and is good at debugging code, as well as providing code assistance. While it doesn’t have a very large community yet, it’s a reliable replacement for a variety of programming languages, including JavaScript, C++, and C#. It has the same runtime as JavaScript and is generally a helpful multipurpose language.

7. TypeScript

Created by Microsoft, TypeScript seeks to improve some of the complaints of detractors of JavaScript. For example, one of the key features of the language is its type system. While optional, this system allows for static type-checking. It can also be used with a wide variety of frameworks and is supported by most browsers. In fact, programmers can apply JavaScript code and frameworks using TypeScript.

There are some drawbacks to using the language, however. For example, like some of its competitors, it has a relatively small community and requires more time to code than JavaScript.

8. WebAssembly

WebAssembly is one of the youngest JavaScript alternatives mentioned here and could be the most viable player in the coding language game. Although it was only introduced in 2015, it’s well on its way to becoming the default language for websites, possibly even dethroning JavaScript.

Known as WASM, this tool is bytecode — essentially a language interpreter for virtual machines. Using WASM allows developers to write their programs in languages aside from JavaScript and compile it directly. It’s efficient to use and loads quickly — considerably faster than JS across browsers.

While none of these alternatives is as widely used as JavaScript, many of them do solve problems that JS can’t. If you’re looking to hire software developers to work on your website or app, you may find that one or more of these languages and tools offer unique problem-solving capabilities that can be beneficial to your project.

If you do hire development teams, it’s a good idea to ask about any methodology and programs they intend to use. After all, you should understand the basics of what these platforms can do for your project and overall business. This will allow you to stay informed and know what to expect.

If you have any questions, please ask below!