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TypeScript vs. JavaScript

Manuel Aparicio

Table of Content

What is TypeScript?
TypeScript's Pros and Cons
How To Start With TypeScript
TypeScript vs. JavaScript
When to Choose TypeScript?
Conclusion

JavaScript is still the most renowned programming language worldwide. Many think of it as one of the pillars of web development, and for a good reason! The language is versatile, fast, and potent. Besides, 97.4% of websites use JavaScript, including Amazon, Google, and Facebook. But, like any other language, it has some downsides. For example, large applications can take a lot of work to maintain using JavaScript. This issue occurs because JS was not created to build those applications. That's why Microsoft developed TypeScript in 2012.

TypeScript vs JavaScript

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is a strongly typed programming language. One main advantage is that it provides typed access to JavaScript code. Due to it, you can use TypeScript to write your code and then run it through a compiler to render JavaScript. This feature helps ensure bug-free code or add features not available in JS.

TypeScript has an intuitive interface, static compilation, and increased readability. That's why Microsoft calls it an "improved version of JavaScript." Indeed, TypeScript supports existing JavaScript code. It allows you to add its libraries to improve productivity quickly.

One of the critical uses of TypeScript is its ability to help enforce type safety. This trait helps cut errors caused by mismatches between variables and values. Imagine you have a variable called "name," and you try to assign it the value "Alice." But, by accident, you give it a value of "12" instead. In standard JS, this would cause no errors until runtime. Yet, with TypeScript, you'd see an error because the variable "name" is expecting a string value, and "12" is not. You can also see errors when trying to access the value of a property that doesn't exist inside an object.

TypeScript also offers optional static typing, which can provide further type safety benefits. Static typing allows you to declare the type of a variable when first defining it. Then, the compiler will check that all references to that variable are of the correct type. This typing avoids issues if code parts use different versions of variables or types.

Pros and Cons of TypeScript

Pros of TypeScript

● Its type-safety helps you prevent errors before runtime.
● Its enhanced readability is vital for early bug detection and defined types.
● Optional static typing makes it an ideal choice for large-scale dev projects.
● TypeScript has a complete set of libraries that eases the work with complex data structures.
Visual Studio Code offers features like Predictive Assistance and IntelliSense for TypeScript.
● Among its new features, there's improved API documentation and type annotation.
● TypeScript code will work on any platform that supports JavaScript.

Cons of TypeScript

● Finding developers familiar with TypeScript and JavaScript can be challenging.
● Its additional syntax and rules might be cumbersome and lead to more errors.
● Code written in TypeScript will not run in browsers that only support JavaScript.
● TypeScript is a newer language. There may be fewer tools available compared with JavaScript.
● Files tend to be larger than their equal JS files due to the extra type of information included.
● It can take some time to get up to it if you're not used to Object Oriented Programming.

TypeScript vs JavaScript

How To Get Started With TypeScript?

If you're looking to start with TypeScript, there are only a few steps you need to take! The first is to install Node.js, as TypeScript is a Node.js program. You can find the installation instructions on the Node.js website.

Once you have Node.js, you can install TypeScript by running the npm install -g typescript command. With TypeScript installed, you're ready to start coding! You can create a new project by running the following declaration: tsc –init. This command will create a new folder called "tsc-init," and inside it, you'll find a file called "tsconfig.json." This step is where you'll configure your project's settings. The most crucial stage in this file is the "target" property. These tell TypeScript which version of JavaScript to compile your code into. By default, it's "es5", compiling your code into most-browser-compatible JavaScript.

You can also specify which modules you want to include in your project. You'll have to add them to the "modules" property. For example, if you use the React library, you should add "react" to this property. There are many other settings that you can configure in this file. For instance, the type of compiler warnings you want to enable. Also, you can set up whether you wish TypeScript to check for type errors while you're coding.

How does TypeScript compare to JavaScript?

JavaScript goes back to 1995, while TypeScript's release was in 2012. Yet, there are +2M Stack Overflow questions about "javascript" and approx 205K about "typescript."

JavaScript is a dynamically typed language, while TypeScript is a statically typed language. In JavaScript, you don't need to specify the data type of a variable until using it, while in TypeScript, you do. Static typing can help to catch errors earlier in the development process. Moreover, JavaScript is more flexible, with more features, and is more forgiving. This component can make it easier to learn for beginners. But it can also lead to more errors and make code harder to read and maintain.

In contrast, TypeScript supports modules and Object Oriented Programming (OOP). Also, it has an excellent interface. As mentioned earlier, TypeScript offers some advantages over JavaScript. It has stricter rules which can help to avoid errors. It also provides built-in types which can make code more concise and readable.

TypeScript vs JavaScript

When to use TypeScript instead of JavaScript?

There are a few cases where you might want to use TypeScript instead of JavaScript:

Large Projects

TypeScript often focuses on larger projects with a more structured codebase. It can help prevent errors and makes code easier to read and maintain.

Focus on Speed

If you need reusable modules and speed is a priority, TypeScript can be a great option. Its error warnings feature will prevent teams from spending hours debugging code.

Static Typing

Some projects might need static typing. Often, this procedure ensures performance without having to run too many tests. If a project is prone to need refactoring, it will be much easier to do due to the static typing of TypeScript.

It might seem that TypeScript is more helpful for any project. However, in some cases, you should stick to JavaScript. For example, if you're working on a small project that only requires a small structure. If your codebase doesn't need many updates by many devs, Typescript may not be the best choice. If your team is more comfortable with JavaScript, TypeScript may be optional. It even can be counterintuitive to push a different language.

Conclusion

TypeScript and JavaScript are both prevalent programming languages. Yet, there are a few key differences, even though they are almost identical. TypeScript offers static typing, object-oriented programming, and error warnings. JavaScript is less strict than TypeScript, making it better for smaller projects. Both can provide magnificent features! But, it would be best to acknowledge your project's priorities before choosing.


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