Blog

Top 10 Javascript Alternatives for Web Development in 2021

We won’t talk about every language that compiles to JavaScript. Instead, we’ll look at the best 10 JavaScript alternatives that you can use right now in production or that you should watch out for in the future. So, let’s begin!

To be informed about JavaScript alternatives is a great start to consider more viable ways of your project implementation. While JavaScript is a reasonably favorite technology worldwide, this doesn’t mean you should use it in your specific case. Thus, in the post, we’ve got you covered! Take your time to know JS pros and cons as well as external and internal JavaScript alternatives, with arguments and examples. 

Content

  1. What Is JavaScript
  2. Top 10 Alternatives to JavaScript for Web Development
    • CoffeeScript
    • TypeScript 
    • ELM 
    • Kotlin
    • ClojureScript 
    • Haxe 
    • Emscripten 
    • LiveScript 
    • ReasonML 
    • Dart
  3. Conclusion
  4. FAQ: Best JavaScript Alternatives for Web Developers in 2021

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript (JS) is a high-level dynamic scripting programming language, that most often is used to create desktop, web and mobile applications. Among some popular sites leveraging JavaScript are Twitter, GitHub, Spotify, Fiverr.

The language is ranked first in terms of the number of pull requests (the GitHub resource calculated data in Q2, 2021). 

JavaScript Alternatives GitHub
Image Source: GitHub

Here are key reasons why JavaScript is one of the most popular and widely used programming languages:

  • Support by all popular browsers; full integration with page layout (HTML + CSS) and server side (backend).
  • When it comes to front-end development, JS allows programmers to create all kinds of interactive elements and dynamic web pages.
  • Includes Object Oriented Programming (OOP). That is a concept in which you not only define a data type and its structure, but also a set of functions applying to it.
  • High work speed and productivity since JavaScript allows partial processing of web pages on the user’s computers without requests to the server.
  • Comparatively easy syntax and usage of a single-threaded loop model that removes most of the programming complexity.
  • JS is dynamically developing, and a vast information system is openly available, including libraries, frameworks, training materials.

However, this data and popularity do not mean that every company should blindly rely on JavaScript for web development. Aside from its benefits, JavaScript has downsides, the major of which are:

  • Lack of debugging that prevents developers from identifying the problem.
  • Easy-assess for malicious purposes and compromise security on the client-side since users can see the code. 
  • Weakly typed, which makes the code relatively obscure.
  • Requires testing in different browsers before publishing, because it will not execute the same in every browser.

For this reason, companies experienced other JavaScript alternatives and have found that many supersets have sprung up in its shadow.

You might also be interested in:

“Monolith VS Microservices: Choosing the Right Architecture For Your Project”

“Omnichannel Solutions For Banks And Their Clients”.

Top 10 Alternatives to JavaScript for Web Development

Here we list 10 JavaScript alternatives to help web development companies and engineering teams make fair choices.

1. CoffeeScript 

CoffeeScript is a fairly small programming language that compiles to JavaScript. It is designed to improve the readability of JS due to its simple and shorter code. You can also use it with Node.js. Its advantages are:

  • simplifies and speeds up both initial development and future maintenance of the code;
  • increases the expressiveness of the code; 
  • easy and fast to learn (the training takes you a couple of days to get involved);
  • convenient support from WebStorm (there are also plugins for other IDEs).

The disadvantages of CoffeeScript include the need for compilation, a limited set of functions, and a few specialists who write in it.

2. TypeScript

TypeScript (introduced by Microsoft in 2012) is often referred to as an enhanced version of JavaScript since it combines JS’s strengths with its own powerful functionality. Among extensive projects that use it are Slack, Google, and Airbnb. 

Frontend developers at FreySoft highlight several reasons why TS can be the great alternative to JavaScript and even become the dominant trend in the near future:

  • Supports static typing.
  • Reduces the number of unit tests.
  • Supports interfaces, classes, subclasses, and ECMAScript 6 or ES6.
  • Comparatively easy to master its syntax.
  • Provides better code navigation and readability. 

If to observe the latest report from GitHub, we can notice JavaScript is currently the most popular as well and, at the same time, the report indicates a rapid growth in the demand for TypeScript in recent years.

JavaScript Alternatives statistics Github
Image Source: GitHub

We can expect the same trend to continue in 2021-2022, as Microsoft keeps expanding the capabilities of TypeScript. Plus, more and more companies take advantage of web applications in this language. Would like to get benefits of TypeScript as well? Leave your contact information, and we assist you in your journey. 

3. ELM 

ELM is a programming language that compiles to JavaScript and places great emphasis on usability. The key difference from JavaScript is mainly because it is not a general-purpose language, but a solution that provides advanced development capabilities for front-end web applications. The main ones are:

  • The absence of runtime exceptions and a limited type system (thanks to this, there are no problems with invalid data types). 
  • The compiler, which produces detailed error messages and options for fixing them.
  • Automatic execution of semantic versioning.
  • The code is easy to write.

You can use this language to create user interfaces with or without JavaScript. On the official Elm website, you can try the language itself and see many examples, including a tutorial on the architecture of an application with asynchronous requests.

4. Kotlin

The Kotlin, developed by the company JetBrains, is a statically typed programming language. In 2017, it has become the official development language for Android. Such companies as Uber, Netflix, Pinterest, Coursera already work with Kotlin. Probably, in the near future, Kotlin will become even more widely used for both web and desktop applications.

The key pros are:

  • The ability to use any Java framework in a Kotlin program. 
  • Integration with build systems such as Maven and Gradle.
  • The ability to change the functionality of existing classes without class inheritance, that, as a result, improves the readability of the code.
  • The syntax is concise and convenient.
  • A wide scope of its usage.

Developers use Kotlin for the next processes:

  • web applications (both the server-side and the interface);
  • mobile applications for Android and iOS, including cross-platform;
  • desktop applications;
  • programs for processing big data.

5. ClojureScript

Clojure is a dynamic functional dialect related to the Lisp family of programming languages. Its enormous advantage is that Clojure can be used both for internal programming (run in a Java virtual machine) and for developing an interface. ClojureScript is an extension of the Clojure language, compiling to JavaScript. 

Its significant benefits are:

  • providing easy access to Java frameworks with optional type hints and type inference;
  • the support of immutable data structures, making it easier to manage side effects;.
  • available meta-programming techniques (code can be treated as data);
  • ability to interact with the running program and immediately see the result of the execution of individual functions, instead of recompiling and starting it after making each change.

6. Haxe

If you are more comfortable writing in a strongly typed language, then Haxe will be an excellent JavaScript alternative for you. It is an open-source toolkit for developing cross-platform software, which has such distinctive features as:

  • Expressive syntax (getters and setters, string interpolation, pattern matching, simplified array comprehension syntax).
  • Optimization (inline methods, dead code elimination, static analyzer, code optimization).
  • Powerful type system (classes, interfaces, generic, dynamic, algebraic, abstract types).
  • Standard, cross-platform library and access to native functionality of all supported platforms.
  • The presence of external classes that allows you to use the native libraries of the target platform, use untyped code, cross Haxe with the target platform code.

What is the strongest point here, you ask? There is an abundance of target platforms, the list of which is escalating. Here includes JavaScript, C #, C ++, Java, PHP (including PHP7), Python, ActionScript 3, Lua. By using just one Haxe, you can efficiently develop your product. And a superficial understanding of the target platform is enough to start developing for it.

7. Emscripten

Emscripten is an open source LLVM to JavaScript compiler that can be run in a web browser. You can find all instructions on the setup page that are easy to follow.

Features of Emscripten:

  • An excellent porting tool that allows you to compile existing projects written in C or C ++ and run them in all modern browsers. 
  • Compile any other code that can be translated to LLVM bytecode in JavaScript.
  • Great for APIs as it converts OpenGL to WebGL and allows you to use familiar APIs like SDL or HTML5 directly. 

Emscripten makes native code immediately available on the Web. Most importantly, together with Emscripten, C / C ++ developers can quickly port a project to JS, instead of writing the one from scratch in a new language (JavaScript). Web developers are also benefiting from the hundreds of native libraries and utilities that exist.

8. LiveScript

LiveScript is another excellent programming language that compiles to JavaScript. It was created by Jeremy Ashkenas, the creator of CoffeeScript. In fact, LiveScript is an evolution of CoffeeScript, encompassing both functional and object-oriented programming paradigms.

Benefits:

  • function composition
  • pattern matching
  • improved readability
  • expressive code that is free from repetitive patterns.

Knowing and trying its features, most companies already switched from JavaScript to LiveScript. Among these examples are Socialtext and Giftpixels brands. 

9. ReasonML 

In 2016 ReasonML was developed as a new syntax for OCaml with the purpose to make it more accessible to JS developers. It can be easily compiled to JavaScript using BuckleScript. 

Facebook supported the project from the very beginning. The company even translated half of its Messenger app to ReasonML.

Its main benefits include:

  • Pattern matching for complex case handling
  • Ability to leverage OCaml and the JavaScript ecosystem
  • Built-in functional programming
  • Ability to gradually introduce the language into an existing application
  • Robust type safety and top-notch inference
  • Compiles to native code

10. Dart

Dart, created by Google, appeared in 2011. The new language code is distributed under the BSD license and is available to everyone for downloading. The features of Dart include a lot of the same things as JavaScript, but in a more modern and correct way. 

Key features of Dart are:

  • Suitable for creating both small scripts with a loose structure and large highly scalable modular projects. 
  • Code written in this language can be run directly inside the browser (under the control of Dartboard) or by converting it to a JavaScript representation.
  • Implicit typing. It is up to the developer to decide whether to use static types. But we should remember that specifying types makes it easier to debug the application and identify errors, and makes the code more understandable and readable.
  • Availability of a ready-made set of tools for developing applications. Especially, we can outline the tools for dynamic development, as well as code postponing with on-the-fly correction (in other words, edit-and-continue).
  • The ability to define interfaces and classes that allow you to reuse existing data and methods, and to perform encapsulation.
  • Support ready-made libraries and as the possibility to create your own. You can connect third-party function implementations as shared libraries to your web application.

Conclusion 

While JavaScript continues to be the main choice for web developers, only based on the needs of your case and available engineering talents, you can make an informed decision whether to use JS or take advantage of JavaScript alternatives. 

The problem is that most businesses choose technologies for subjective reasons, or because something is trendy or used by the competitors. However, to select a technology objectively, based on facts, you need to consult with experts in this niche. 

FreySoft +11 years of experience in development in several languages give us an opportunity to arrange the projects in the best possible way and with minimal resources for you. We first get to understand the specifics of the client’s project, analyze the goals and methods of development, and, after, offer suitable options for implementation. 

So if you plan developing your product in the above-mentioned JavaScript alternatives, we will be happy to assist you and bring your project to life. Also, we provide services in the next modern expertises:

Our developers are open to suggestions and fresh ideas, embracing the challenges you present. Get in touch with us!

FAQ: Best JavaScript Alternatives for Web Developers in 2021

What can I use instead of JavaScript?

Kaffeine, Opal, CoffeeScript, TypeScript, ELM, Haxe, Emscripten, LiveScript, ReasonML, Dart are good JavaScript alternatives. What’s more, they possess their own distinctive features that can bring a competitive advantage to your project.

What are the advantages of JavaScript?

Key benefits of JavaScript include:
– A well-developed infrastructure with a wide variety of frameworks and libraries.
– No need for installation on the user’s computer. Scripts are executed directly in the browser when the page is loaded.
– Unnecessary for JS to be compiled on the client-side, which gives it speed advantages.
– Work with other languages and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

What are the disadvantages of JavaScript?

The most significant drawbacks of JavaScript are:
– There is no data typing. Until the execution of the code reaches the desired line, you will not know if it works. And in terms of execution speed, typed code is faster.
– Safety issues. JavaScript is explicitly added to web pages and client browsers, it can exploit the user’s system, so malicious code can be run on the client machine.
– JS does not support remote access. Therefore, is not applicable for network applications.

Select a perfect software outsource vendor

Download our guide with 3 easy steps and a checklist to select a perfect software development vendor for your business needs.

More from Freysoft

Contact us

You journey to a remarkable product starts here! The first step is connecting.

We will add your info to our CRM for contacting you regarding your request. For more info please consult our privacy policy.