A high-level, interpreted programming language that enables interactive web pages.

JavaScript is a high-level, interpreted programming language that conforms to the ECMAScript specification.

JavaScript has curly-bracket syntax, dynamic typing, prototype-based object-orientation, and first-class functions.

Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web. JavaScript enables interactive web pages and is an essential part of web applications. The vast majority of websites use it, and major web browsers have a dedicated JavaScript engine to execute it.

As a multi-paradigm language, JavaScript supports event-driven, functional, and imperative (including object-oriented and prototype-based) programming styles. It has APIs for working with text, arrays, dates, regular expressions, and the DOM, but the language itself does not include any I/O, such as networking, storage, or graphics facilities. It relies upon the host environment in which it is embedded to provide these features.

Initially only implemented client-side in web browsers, JavaScript engines are now embedded in many other types of host software, including server-side in web servers and databases, and in non-web programs such as word processors and PDF software, and in runtime environments that make JavaScript available for writing mobile and desktop applications, including desktop widgets.

The terms Vanilla JavaScript and Vanilla JS refer to JavaScript not extended by any frameworks or additional libraries. Scripts written in Vanilla JS are plain JavaScript code.

Although there are similarities between JavaScript and Java, including language name, syntax, and respective standard libraries, the two languages are distinct and differ greatly in design.


December 4, 1995

First appeared

First released in Netscape Navigator 2.0 beta 3



Brendan Eich


Further reading


How does Javascript affect SEO?



Sept 09, 2019

Documentaries, videos and podcasts





Bram Berkowitz
August 4, 2020
We at Rhode Island Inno have established a curated calendar of statewide goings-on we think readers will enjoy -- alllll in one spot.
Catherine Shu
July 14, 2020
Sentry, the Accel-backed company that creates bug-monitoring software for app developers, announced its latest product today. Called Performance Monitoring, it is frontend performance monitoring software for Python and Javascript. The company, whose investors also include New Enterprise Associates, said the feature can reduce the amount of time spent fixing errors to a few minutes by [...]
Bram Berkowitz
July 1, 2020
We at Rhode Island Inno have established a curated calendar of statewide goings-on we think readers will enjoy -- alllll in one spot.
Bram Berkowitz
June 1, 2020
We at Rhode Island Inno have established a curated calendar of statewide goings-on we think readers will enjoy -- alllll in one spot.
Ingrid Lunden
April 27, 2020
Thanks to smartphones and their downsized keyboards, autocomplete has become a nearly ubiquitous feature of how we write these days. To save us precious seconds composing and (at least in my fat-thumbed case) correcting words, our keyboards now prompt us with suggestions of what we're trying to write to get the job done a little [...]
Ron Miller
March 16, 2020
GitHub, the developer repository owned by Microsoft, made a little deal of its own this morning when it bought JavaScript packaging vendor npm for an undisclosed amount. As GitHub CEO Nate Friedman wrote in a blog post announcing the deal, npm is a big deal in the JavaScript community. The company is the commercial entity [...]
March 11, 2020
Skeletal inclusions in approximately 99-million-year-old amber from northern Myanmar provide unprecedented insights into the soft tissue and skeletal anatomy of minute fauna, which are not typically preserved in other depositional environments1-3. Among a diversity of vertebrates, seven specimens that preserve the skeletal remains of enantiornithine birds have previously been described1,4-8, all of which (including at least one seemingly mature specimen) are smaller than specimens recovered from lithic materials. Here we describe an exceptionally well-preserved and diminutive bird-like skull that documents a new species, which we name Oculudentavis khaungraae gen. et sp. nov. The find appears to represent the smallest known dinosaur of the Mesozoic era, rivalling the bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae)--the smallest living bird--in size. The O. khaungraae specimen preserves features that hint at miniaturization constraints, including a unique pattern of cranial fusion and an autapomorphic ocular morphology9 that resembles the eyes of lizards. The conically arranged scleral ossicles define a small pupil, indicative of diurnal activity. Miniaturization most commonly arises in isolated environments, and the diminutive size of Oculudentavis is therefore consistent with previous suggestions that this amber formed on an island within the Trans-Tethyan arc10. The size and morphology of this species suggest a previously unknown bauplan, and a previously undetected ecology. This discovery highlights the potential of amber deposits to reveal the lowest limits of vertebrate body size. Oculudentavis khaungraae--a newly discovered theropod from the Cretaceous period of Myanmar--reveals a previously unknown bauplan and ecology associated with miniaturization, highlighting the potential for recovering small-bodied vertebrates from amber deposits.
Dan Goodin
January 13, 2020
Ars Technica
Cable Haunt lets attackers take complete control when targets visit booby-trapped sites.
December 10, 2019
Read more about Blockchain, AI, JavaScript professionals most in demand for jobs: LinkedIn on Business Standard. LinkedIn has crunched data from billions of interactions of the platform's 62 million members in India to establish the fastest growing jobs in the Indian talent market.
Jim Salter
November 14, 2019
Ars Technica
The Bytecode Alliance aims to promote safe use--and reuse--of untrusted code at speed.
Ryan Ariano
November 4, 2019
Business Insider
You should enable JavaScript on an iPad so that websites you access function properly and so features like animations and videos work.
October 28, 2019
Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa around 200 thousand years ago (ka)1-4. Although some of the oldest skeletal remains suggest an eastern African origin2, southern Africa is home to contemporary populations that represent the earliest branch of human genetic phylogeny5,6. Here we generate, to our knowledge, the largest resource for the poorly represented and deepest-rooting maternal L0 mitochondrial DNA branch (198 new mitogenomes for a total of 1,217 mitogenomes) from contemporary southern Africans and show the geographical isolation of L0d1'2, L0k and L0g KhoeSan descendants south of the Zambezi river in Africa. By establishing mitogenomic timelines, frequencies and dispersals, we show that the L0 lineage emerged within the residual Makgadikgadi-Okavango palaeo-wetland of southern Africa7, approximately 200 ka (95% confidence interval, 240-165 ka). Genetic divergence points to a sustained 70,000-year-long existence of the L0 lineage before an out-of-homeland northeast-southwest dispersal between 130 and 110 ka. Palaeo-climate proxy and model data suggest that increased humidity opened green corridors, first to the northeast then to the southwest. Subsequent drying of the homeland corresponds to a sustained effective population size (L0k), whereas wet-dry cycles and probable adaptation to marine foraging allowed the southwestern migrants to achieve population growth (L0d1'2), as supported by extensive south-coastal archaeological evidence8-10. Taken together, we propose a southern African origin of anatomically modern humans with sustained homeland occupation before the first migrations of people that appear to have been driven by regional climate changes. Analyses of mitochondrial genomes from populations in southern Africa provide evidence of a southern African origin of anatomically modern humans and a sustained occupation of the homeland before the first migrations of people appear to be driven by regional climate shifts.
Sean Gallagher
September 25, 2019
Ars Technica
Web-skimming malware makers appear to be testing attacks against layer 7 routers.
Rosalie Chan
September 20, 2019
Business Insider
NPM CEO Bryan Bogensberger has resigned from his position. NPM is known for its free JavaScript tools that are popular with developers.
Devon Delfino
September 16, 2019
Business Insider
You can enable Javascript on a Mac by going into your browser's Preferences menu. In Safari, you'll find the Javascript option in the Security tab.
December 13, 2018
We want to know what you think - does going online make you feel more lonely or less lonely?
July 19, 2018
The Economist
IN DECEMBER 1989 Guido van Rossum, a Dutch computer scientist, set himself a Christmas project. Irked by shortcomings in other programming languages, he wanted to build his own. His principles were simple. First, it should be easy to read. Rather than sprawling over line-endings and being broken up by a tangle of curly braces, each chunk would be surrounded with indented white space. Second, it should let users create their own packages of special-purpose coding modules, which could then be made available to others to form the basis of new programs. Third, he wanted a "short, unique and slightly mysterious" name. He therefore called it after Monty Python, a British comedy group. The package repository became known as the Cheese Shop.Nearly 30 years after his Christmas invention, Mr Van Rossum resembles a technological version of the Monty Python character who accidentally became the Messiah in the film "Life of Brian". "I certainly didn't set out to create a language that was intended for mass consumption," he explains. But in the past 12 months Google users in America have searched for Python more often than for Kim Kardashian, a reality-TV star. The rate of queries has trebled since 2010, while inquiries after other programming languages have been flat or declining (see chart).Get our daily newsletterUpgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor's Picks.Latest storiesWhy does Britain's most famous TV game show lack female faces?4 hours agoBarry Adamson's 40 years of musical brillianceProspero5 hours agoA brand new passenger jet crashes in IndonesiaGulliver5 hours agoBlasphemy bans are struck out in Ireland and reinforced in AustriaErasmus7 hours agoJair Bolsonaro will be Brazil's next presidentAmericas9 hours agoPhilip Hammond prepares for a low-key budgetBritain11 hours agoSee moreThe language's popularity has grown not merely among professional developers--nearly 40% of whom use it, with a further 25% wishing to do so, according to Stack Overflow, a programming forum--but also with ordinary folk. Codecademy, a website that has taught 45m novices how to use various languages, says that by far the biggest increase in demand is from those wishing to learn Python. It is thus bringing coding to the fingertips of those once baffled by the subject. Pythonistas, as aficionados are known, have helped by adding more than 145,000 packages to the Cheese Shop, covering everything from astronomy to game development.Mr Van Rossum, though delighted by this enthusiasm for his software, has come to find the rigours of supervising it, in his role as "benevolent dictator for life", unbearable. He fears he has become something of an idol. "I'm uncomfortable with that fame," he says, sounding uncannily like Brian trying to drive away the crowds of disciples. "Sometimes I feel like everything I say or do is seen as a very powerful force." On July 12th he resigned, leaving the Pythonistas to manage themselves.Nobody expects the faddish statisticianPython is not perfect. Other languages have more processing efficiency and specialised capabilities. C and C++ are "lower-level" options which give the user more control over what is happening within a computer's processor. Java is popular for building large, complex applications. JavaScript is the language of choice for applications accessed via a web browser. Countless others have evolved for various purposes. But Python's killer features--simple syntax that makes its code easy to learn and share, and its huge array of third-party packages--make it a good general-purpose language. Its versatility is shown by its range of users and uses. The Central Intelligence Agency has employed it for hacking, Pixar for producing films, Google for crawling web pages and Spotify for recommending songs.Some of the most alluring packages that Pythonistas can find in the Cheese Shop harness artificial intelligence (AI). Users can create neural networks, which mimic the connections in a brain, to pick out patterns in large quantities of data. Mr Van Rossum says that Python has become the language of choice for AI researchers, who have produced numerous packages for it.Not all Pythonistas are so ambitious, though. Zach Sims, Codecademy's boss, believes many visitors to his website are attempting to acquire skills that could help them in what are conventionally seen as "non-technical" jobs. Marketers, for instance, can use the language to build statistical models that measure the effectiveness of campaigns. College lecturers can check whether they are distributing grades properly. (Even journalists on The Economist, scraping the web for data, generally use programs written in Python to do so.)For professions that have long relied on trawling through spreadsheets, Python is especially valuable. Citigroup, an American bank, has introduced a crash course in Python for its trainee analysts. A jobs website, eFinancialCareers, reports a near-fourfold increase in listings mentioning Python between the first quarters of 2015 and 2018.The thirst for these skills is not without risk. Cesar Brea, a partner at Bain & Company, a consultancy, warns that the scariest thing in his trade is "someone who has learned a tool but doesn't know what is going on under the hood". Without proper oversight, a novice playing with AI libraries could reach dodgy conclusions. Bernd Ziegler, a partner at Boston Consulting Group, says that his firm reserves such analysis to members of its data team.Rossum's universal robotOne solution to the problem of semi-educated tinkerers is to educate them properly in the language's arcana. Python was already the most popular introductory language at American universities in 2014, but the teaching of it is generally limited to those studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A more radical proposal is to catch 'em young by offering computer science to all, and in primary schools. Hadi Partovi, the boss of, a charity, notes that 40% of American schools now offer such lessons, up from 10% in 2013. Around two-thirds of 10- to 12-year-olds have an account on's website. Perhaps unnerved by a future filled with automated jobs, 90% of American parents want their children to study computer science.How much longer Python's rise will continue is anybody's guess. There have been dominant computer languages in the past that, while not exactly "one with Nineveh and Tyre", now skulk in the background. In the 1960s, Fortran bestrode the world. As teaching languages for neophytes, both Basic and Pascal had their moments in the sun. And Mr Partovi himself plumped for JavaScript as the language for's core syllabus, since it remains the standard choice for animating web pages.No computing language can ever be truly general purpose. Specialisation will necessarily remain important. It is nevertheless true that, in that long-past Yuletide, Mr Van Rossum started something memorable. He isn't the Messiah, but he was a very clever boy.This article appeared in the Science and technology section of the print edition under the headline "And now for something completely different"
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