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Computers and Technology

What is TypeScript? Definition, History, Features

JavaScript may have started out as a simple little language to add functionality to web pages, but it has grown exponentially over the years, gaining in popularity and relevance on an almost daily basis. With the recent release of TypeScript, you might be wondering whether or not you should invest your time learning it or continue to stick with JavaScript.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the history of TypeScript, how it differs from JavaScript, and why you might want to consider switching to TypeScript instead of sticking with the language that brought us NodeJS and AngularJS.

Definition of TypeScript

Typescript is a superset of the javascript language and aims to be at a higher level of abstraction than what javascript can offer. The typescript compiler acts as an interface between your code and the browser by converting your TypeScript code into browser-readable javascript. It also provides error checking, increased speed and better cross-platform support.

Now that we’ve established what typescript is, let’s take a look at how it works and why it will help you to be more productive when writing javascript. To begin with, TypeScript adds static typing in JavaScript; using advanced type checking on any object-oriented language allows developers to identify errors and bugs much earlier in development rather than during testing or deployment. Errors caught early save time and money!

A Brief History of TypeScript

In 2009, Anders Hejlsberg a software architect at Microsoft was looking for a new language to work with. TypeScript was introduced in October 2012 and has been open sourced since April 2013. It has steadily increased in popularity as developers adopt it for their development needs. In 2016, TypeScript is officially a recognized OSS project.

Being a superset of Javascript, TypeScript can easily be used in any browser or node.js environment. It compiles to clean and simple JavaScript code and supports ECMAScript 3/5/6 compatible browsers, server-side environments like node.js as well as any existing frameworks or libraries.

Why Use TypeScript?

TypeScript may seem like a language designed for those in the software development field, but it is actually really useful for those that are building websites or using code that are often updated. With typeScript, your web application will remain fast and efficient without having to retrain all of your employees on best coding practices.

One thing that many people think of when they hear TypeScript is code. It is true that typeScript uses strong typing which means that it will give your website clearer and more specific errors when there are problems with coding. This is an excellent benefit because developers can fix issues quickly, saving time and money in future projects. This also saves time for end users since there will be fewer bugs overall on your website or application.

TypeScript vs JavaScript

JavaScript is a coding language that is used to create interactive elements in web pages. TypeScript is a programming language that is used to simplify code for developers to maintain their development workflow, as well as offer robustness, some cross-platform capabilities and enhanced type safety. The question of whether to use TypeScript or JavaScript depends on what your goals are.

TypeScript is an open-source, object-oriented programming language developed and maintained by Microsoft. It was originally created as a type-safe, modern alternative to JavaScript and can be used in any project that requires static typing. In some cases, it can even be used to create JavaScript itself. The learning curve for TypeScript is steep, but once you know what TypeScript is capable of and understand its quirks, there are numerous benefits to making the switch.

TypeScript Features You Might want to Know

TypeScript is a programming language developed by Microsoft for building large-scale web applications. Some of the TypeScript features that are worth noting are strongly typed variables, optional static typing, and classes.

TypeScript is more explicit than JavaScript

With JavaScript, anyone can write code that changes our website without any notice. With TypeScript, it is a lot more explicit and can reduce bugs that might be caused by miniscule human errors. Plus, the syntax is really easy to get used to!

TypeScript makes it easier to prevent bugs

TypeScript can help avoid the common coding bugs that plague JavaScript. The automatic type system allows you to set a base and makes it easier to detect bugs. This, coupled with ECMAScript 6 features, offers a new perspective on how to code.

TypeScript has great Intellisense

TypeScript’s Intellisense is one of the features that sets it apart from other languages. It provides quick completion, where a popup appears to give you an autocomplete selection of pre-populated suggestions. You can also override a function by importing it and defining its type. TypeScript also has great IDE support. Visual Studio Code supports many TypeScript plugins such as snippets, formatters, and completions that show on hover with examples.

TypeScript offers an easy migration

For those unfamiliar with TypeScript, it is a superset of ECMAScript 2015 (a.k.a. ES6) that offers many of the syntactic benefits found in other language such as Python, Ruby, and C#. It has been authored by Microsoft and therefore enjoys broad browser support because of this. The migration is seamless because the type definitions are included in your existing files.

TypeScript adds new features

TypeScript adds many new features to JavaScript that simplify code and make it easier to debug. Features like interfaces and types are relatively easy to use, but they can also save developers a lot of time. For example, if TypeScript is used, error messages will be delivered directly in your IDE (or text editor). Where you can see the error, plus each error message includes suggestions on how to fix the problem so debugging is quick and easy.

Conclusion

The web is evolving at a rapid pace, so it’s important to have an understanding of what changes are coming. TypeScript is not a perfect language and has its quirks, but it brings much-needed support for new features that help the ecosystem to continue evolving. It also provides compilation support for ES2015 (ES6) features that were added to JavaScript in 2015. I hope this post helped clarify why TypeScript is worth learning. And how you can get started!

As a frontend development company, we use TypeScript on all of our projects because it’s really useful for certain scenarios like project structure and for maintaining large applications. There are also a lot of powerful libraries out there that let you create modular code by writing plain JS files instead of class based ones in order to help support adoption of your library. Libraries like React and Angular 2 both allow developers to write ES2015 or ES6 compliant modules. Which can be used seamlessly in any environment.

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