The State of Javascript

Scott Sauyet

An Overview of Javascript

Where we've been

We're we are now

Where we're going

Where We've Been

Javascript Early History in a Single Slide

Where We are Now

There are four major themes right now:

Javascript on the Go

Javascript on more devices than any other computing runtime... and has been for many years. It's only getting more so with the growth of mobile devices.

Flash is disappearing. Applets are dead. JavaFX never got any traction. Silverlight's been abandoned. There simply are no competitors standing except for the native device environments.

Not Just for The Client Anymore

Server-side Javascript has been around for years

But none of that mattered much. Until...


Created in 2009, based on the V8 Javscript engine behind Google Chrome, this has rapidly become a powerful force in server-side development. Node features:

Compiling to Javascript

A list maintained by altJS shows new languages that can be converted to JS

Compiling to Javascript

The list of languages ported from existing languages is much longer


Ruby-related Libraries



Java and JVM


C#, F#, .NET related languages

Compiling to Javascript

Ported Languages (continued)

Lisp, Clojure & Scheme








Compiling to Javascript

Those lists are still only part of the story. altjs lists around 100 other tools for

Library Development

There has been a recent change in how libraries are developed.

2000 - 2008: General-purpose libraries

  • jQuery, Dojo, MooTools, YUI, etc
  • Very large libraries
  • Hard to get right (browsers are finicky)
  • Slow to change

2009 - present: Smaller, more focused libraries

  • For every conceivable purpose, but each one focused
  • Nimble
  • Easily interoperable on the server
  • (Getting there on the client)

This has allowed for a huge number of alternative approaches, and a great deal of experimentation.

Where we're Headed


Contacting Scott