Chris Bateman

The Increasing Ubiquity of JavaScript

In the past, if you were a skilled JavaScript developer, you’d be qualified to work on any JavaScript project. This might not be true in the future.

JavaScript, long the world’s most ubiquitous computing runtime, is becoming even more prevalent. Up until the last few years, all JavaScript was written for DOM scripting. But now we’re seeing it used to write server-side code (file systems, databases, routing, caching, SSL, UDP, SMTP, you name it), physics simulations, 2d graphics, 3d graphics (including shaders, lighting, ray tracing, and lots of crazy stuff), audio processing and synthesizing, real-time video processing, codec decoding… the list goes on and on.

All of these subjects, which were once the sole purview of native development, can and are being written in JavaScript. It’s not just HTML anymore.

I’ve been working on an interactive, animated canvas app, and as I delved into graphical performance issues, I came to realize that I was dealing with many of the same issues that graphics programmers dealt with decades ago. I’m just barging into it now because it’s suddenly become possible in JavaScript!

It will be very interesting to see how spread-out or specialized JavaScript developers will become as these kinds of opportunities continue to arise (or how many native developers will start spending more time in JavaScript).

Tell me what you think: @batemanchris