JavaScript is a scripting programming language interpretted by web browsers that enables dynamic content and interactions in web applications.

Why is JavaScript necessary?

JavaScript executes in the client and enables dynamic content and interaction that is not possible with HTML and CSS alone. Every modern Python web application uses JavaScript on the front end.

Front end frameworks

Front end JavaScript frameworks move the rendering for most of a web application to the client side. Often these applications are informally referred to as "one page apps" because the webpage is not reloaded upon every click to a new URL. Instead, partial HTML pages are loaded into the document object model or data is retrieved through an API call then displayed on the existing page.

Examples of these front end frameworks include:

Front end frameworks are rapidly evolving. Over the next several years consensus about good practices for using the frameworks will emerge.

How did JavaScript originate?

JavaScript is an implementation of the ECMAScript specification which is defined by the Ecma International Standards Body. Read this paper on the first 20 years of JavaScript by Brendan Eich, the original creator of the programming language, and Allen Wirfs-Brock for more context on the language's evolution.

JavaScript resources

JavaScript learning checklist

  1. Create a simple HTML file with basic elements in it. Use the python -m SimpleHTTPServer command to serve it up. Create a <script type="text/javascript"></script> element at the end of the <body> section in the HTML page. Play with JavaScript within that element to learn the basic syntax.

  2. Download JQuery and add it to the page above your JavaScript element. Start working with JQuery and learning how it makes basic JavaScript easier.

  3. Work with JavaScript on the page. Incorporate examples from open source projects listed below as well as JQuery plugins. Check out Unheap to find a large collection of categorized JQuery plugins.

  4. Check out the JavaScript resources below to learn more about advanced concepts and open source libraries.

  5. Integrate JavaScript into your web application and check the static content section for how to host the JavaScript files.

Do you need to style your app or deploy it?

My app runs but looks awful. How do I style the user interface?

I've built a Python web app, now how do I deploy it?

How should I host and serve static content files?

Matt Makai 2012-2022