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March 27, 2022updated 26 Jan 2023 11:25am

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is often confused with Java - what are the main differences between the two programming languages?

By Ellie Burns

JavaScript is a popular programming language that is usually defined as high-level, dynamic, untyped and interpreted.

One of three core technologies of World Wide Web production (the others being HTML and CSS), the programming language is used by the majority of websites on the World Wide Web and is supported by all modern web browsers without plug-ins.

JS is prototype-based with first-class functions, making it a multi-paradigm language which supports object-orientated, imperative and functional programming styles.

Javascript
Image: Shutterstock

Is Java the same as Javascript?

Many confuse the two, and although there are similarities such as language name, syntax and standard libraries, they are two distinct languages which differ greatly in design.

The main difference is that Java is an OPP programming language, while JavaScript is an OOP scripting language. Java makes applications that run in a virtual machine or browser while JavaScript is run on a browser only. Another difference is that JavaScript code is all in text, while Java code needs to be compiled.

Originally developed back in 1995 by Brendan Finch who worked at Netscape, JavaScript is now a trademark of the Oracle Corporation and used under license for technology invented and implemented by Netscape Communications and other groups such as the Mozilla Foundation.

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