Linked by snydeq on Thu 9th Sep 2010 18:29 UTC
Java Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister sees recent experiments enabling a resurgence for JavaScript on the server, one likely to dent Java's role in the data center. 'Today, projects such as CommonJS and Node.js are extending JavaScript even further, allowing it to take on Java's traditional role in the data center. In a fascinating role reversal, JavaScript is becoming the versatile, powerful, all-purpose language for the Web, while Java risks becoming a kind of modern-day Cobol," McAllister writes. And though such experiments have a ways to go, the benefits of JavaScript as a server-side language are clear and striking.
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Guess what. GMail is written in javascript -- no, not just the front-end you see, the back end too. Nearly a half million lines of it.

For some reason, most programmers don't seem to trust dynamic languages for "serious" or "big" work, as if strong typing is a magic bullet. However, static typing, when you think about it, doesn't solve *any* of the *hard problems* in software development, and, in fact, sometimes even stands in the way.

Javascript is certainly no panacea (more so on the client side than it is on the server) -- in fact, its probably the most poorly put together language there is that has achieved any sort of popularity. But there are some nice things at its core -- prototypical inheritence, first-class functions, closures, regex -- and if you take the time to boil away the ickier parts of the language then you'll find a fairly graceful language hiding beneath.

The language has some evolving yet to do to make it better, but its quite usable now if you follow the proper idioms and avoid certain language features.

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