What is JavaScript?

JavaScriptOne definition of JavaScript is: An object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. If you understand that definition perfectly, then you have no need of reading this article. If you are like most people, however, and understand just enough about computing to “Google” information, this may give you some insight into the complexities of the web-programming language.

What Do the Technical Terms Mean?


Refers to the focus of the computer language on phrases, images or other data as an object rather than an assortment of codes. This is a “lightweight” language. It is a bit like telling someone to retrieve something for you from a table. Rather than say, “Bring me that fabric container with the half-inch diameter spheres that absorb, reflect or refract various lights,” we say, “Bring me that bag of red and blue marbles.”

Programming Language

A programming language is simply speaking to the computer in a way it understands, using “phrases” or codes of numbers and mathematical signs. Math is the computer’s language.


You will often see the term HTML too. That is a standard system of “tagging” images, words or whole lines of text to dictate their color, their font, their size and their embedded links. If you have a website, then you know you can use HTML to add an animated character to a section or to change the font to add emphasis. JavaScript is an object-oriented, or short-cut focused, programming language that changes the way the HTML codes act in a webpage.

What Can It Do?

According to the website W3Schools.com, it finds an element of HTML code and changes it when you click it.

  • When you click on a highlighted phrase in an article, for instance, another Web page opens up.
  • It changes the way an image appears on a Web page. A lightbulb turns on when you click it, a door opens and allows you to enter a website, a bunny waves its ears.
  • It changes the style of the HTML by altering font or color of words or entire phrases. It can validate information: if you take a computer test and are asked to enter an answer into a box, you are told whether or not you are correct.

Because of its simplicity, HTML is the most popular and useful of programming codes for Web pages.

Does It Work Everywhere?

According to Mozilla, it does not work in a database and it can not access other servers. It must be enabled in your browser. Just as you must have a phone to receive a phone call, you must enable the “receiver” on your browser. Then, the browser engine interprets the codes when the Web page is loaded. Since even standard codes change with the addition of new data, it is important to update when you are prompted.

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Java is a language with a similar name, but it is a different concept and it is highly complex. JavaScript, however, is a shortcut in common computer language that enables us, the users, to interact with our web browsers and web pages for enjoyment and information.