10 Things You Can Build with JavaScript

build this with javascript

JavaScript is the most popular coding language around, according to Stack Overflow’s annual developer surveys.

Even developers whose primary responsibility is the back-end and server-side code often need to know a little JavaScript. That’s largely because JavaScript is inescapable. Most of our bootcamp students will tell you that, for their final projects, they had to get to a basic level of proficiency with JavaScript. This is also true in the working world, especially in teams without dedicated front-end developers.

Atwood’s Law states that: “Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.” Of course, Jeff Atwood was making a joke at JavaScript’s expense, but it has turned out to be more true than not.

With the growing popularity of web apps, JavaScript is more central than ever. Here’s a quick run-down of what you can do with JavaScript.

10 Things You Can Build with JavaScript

1. Websites:

Okay, so you can file this one under 'pretty obvious.' When Brendan Eich developed Javascript way back in 1995, the point was to add interactivity and behavior to static sites. Nearly 30 years later, we’re still using it for that. Any remotely modern web site today is running JavaScript on some level.

2. Web Applications:

As browsers and personal computers have continued to improve, so, too, have web applications. Everything from getting directions in Google Maps to ordering takeout through GrubHub can happen in a browser-based application. And many of these apps are built in JavaScript.

3. Server applications:

With the growth of NodeJS over the past decade, JavaScript made its way from the browser and into the server. Since then, major companies like LinkedIn, Uber, and Walmart have adopted Node as a key part of their back-end infrastructure.

4. Web Servers:

Since we’re on the topic of server applications, have you seen Node’s Hello World application? It demonstrates how to build a web server in about 10 lines of code. Of course, you can create much more robust servers using NodeJS or the standard server application framework ExpressJS. Many of the previously mentioned applications using Node use the MEAN stack (Mongo, Express, Angular, Node), of which Express is a key component.

5. Games:

The browser hasn’t been a major gaming platform in the past, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide plenty of options for game development. In fact, building games is a fun way to learn programming. Just check out these tutorials from FreeCodeCamp and Mozilla.

6. Presentations:

PowerPoint and Keynote aren’t the most-loved apps out there, particularly among developers. That’s probably the reason behind the RevealJS library, which makes it easy to build presentations as websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Even folks who aren’t familiar with web development might still be using RevealJS for presentations, just without knowing it — slides.com uses RevealJS to build a web-based slide deck.

7. Art:

One of the cool features in the 2014 HTML5 specification is the canvas element, which allows the browser to render three-dimensional shapes. This opened the browser as a new medium for digital art projects.

8. Programming Puzzles:

Every December, thousands of developers sign up for a 25-day series of programming puzzles: Advent of Code. Devs can choose any language to complete these daily puzzles, but JavaScript is a popular choice.

9. Mobile Apps:

In less than a decade from 2016 to 2022, the number of smartphone users grew by over two billion. Today, there are 6.6 billion smartphone users who rely on mobile apps for everything from banking to tracking workouts. For developers, though, there’s a hitch: mobile apps for Android and Apple are entirely different. That’s where JavaScript, specifically React Native, comes in. This JS-based tool lets developers build cross-platform mobile apps, instead of needing to code two completely separate apps. In fact, you’ll probably recognize some of the apps that use it, like Discord, Microsoft Outlook, Facebook, and Instagram.

10. Flying Robots:

That’s right — robots that fly! Several commercially available quadcopters come outfitted with a simple OS that makes it possible to install NodeJS. This means that you can program a drone using JavaScript.

As it’s probably pretty clear, Atwood’s Law continues to ring true but not in a bad way. JavaScript remains the most accessible programming language on the planet. So it’s great to see that it’s possible to create such a wide variety of projects using it.