What Is JavaScript? And What Does It Do? (Video Explanation)

Along with HTML and CSS, JavaScript (often abbreviated to just ‘JS‘) is one of the most important coding languages on the web – it is essentially the main (most common) language that makes things happen in web browsers like Chrome and Safari etc (often dynamically depending on how website visitors interact with the site they are visiting). To learn more about JavaScript: what it is and what it does, take a look at this short video we’ve put together on the subject:

What Is JavaScript and What Does It Do?

Direct link to watch the video over on Vimeo.

– (note: video credits to Topher DeRosia – creator of HeroPress)

Video Transcript:

Hi! This is Topher with WinningWP. In this video we’re going to answer the question, “What is JavaScript? What does it do and what is it used for?” Well, first of all, right off the bat, Javascript is a programming language. But one of the things that makes it very unique is that it runs right in your browser. Most programming languages for the web run on the server, and then what you get in your browser is a plain webpage. JavaScript’s actually run by your browser and that makes it quite unique in the world of programming languages. We’re here at JavaScript.com and one of their first examples is to simply type your name in quotes and hit enter. And there, when I did that it turned green, it put a check mark on the left, and it made a button that said “next challenge”. My browser didn’t go out to the server to get all that information, it just did it right here. So then, what can JavaScript do for us? There’s lots and lots of great things. It’s really good at providing interactivity. Right here in this blog post, there’s this little gallery of pictures. On some of them if you hover, it pops up a description. And if you click, it fades the page out to black and brings up a large one with a space for comments below and arrows on the left and right and a little x here at the top. All kinds of interactivity. Another example of interactivity comes right here in this form field. It wants a date. When I click, it brings up a calendar and I can simply click. That helps remove the possibility of typing in a date incorrectly. And it helps you be sure about the date you’re choosing. Another thing that JavaScript can enable is real-time content updates. We’re looking here at a Google map and there are little pinpoints all over it. If I click one, it brings up some information. Now JavaScript went out to the server and got this little piece of information. It didn’t actually reload the whole page. If I click on a different pinpoint, it goes to get different information. And then down in the bottom right are some tools for zooming. Each time I zoom it’s going out to the server, getting a new image. But it’s doing it without reloading the entire browser. So I don’t lose whatever work I’m doing elsewhere in this page. JavaScript can also enable animation. This is a code example page. We have HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But together they make this solar system. And it’s more than just animation. You can choose different planets to watch. You could turn it into D. You could zoom it out so that you could see all of the planets at once. And you can have different focuses. Right now we’re looking at speed, but if you actually made size proper, this is what the sun is like in scale to Earth, not like this, and there’s also distance. All of this is done with just a little bit of JavaScript. One last thing I want to show you is dealing with data. You can take data in the proper format and feed it into JavaScript and create charts and graphs. These charts and graphs can be automatically updated based on the data that gets fed into them. So let’s review. JavaScript is a programing language. And the thing that makes it unique is that it actually runs in your browser, as opposed to on the server. It can provide interactivity, real-time content updates, and quite a few animation options. JavaScript is an exceptionally powerful language. One last thing I’d like to point out is that JavaScript is not related to Java in any way. The name is an unfortunate coincidence. They’re completely different languages written for different purposes by different people at different times and they run on different machines. The thing to remember is that JavaScript is the one that runs in your browser. If you’d like to learn more about WordPress, check out WinningWP.com.

View more videos…

Anything to add?

By WinningWP Editorial

Run by Brin Wilson, WinningWP is an award-winning resource for people who use – you guessed it – WordPress. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+
Comments (policy)
More in Basics
Ten Essential Blogging Tips for Beginners (Video)

Starting a blog is now easier than ever. Gaining an audience, however, is arguably now quite a bit harder than ever (for most folk at...