Cool Stuff You Can Build With JavaScript

JavaScript is everywhere! Since the language was developed in 1995 by Brendan Eich to make websites interactive, it has gone on to do a whole lot more in recent years. Today, its popularity has inspired a vibrant ecosystem of technologies, libraries, and frameworks.

Almost any modern website uses JavaScript, but you already knew that. But did you know that JavaScript has now jumped from the browser and into the server?

Since NodeJS came into being, JavaScript in server applications has become quite popular and now plays a key role in back-end infrastructure for major multinationals.

So what other cool things can you do with JavaScript?

1. Web Servers

Speaking of server applications, Node’s Hello World makes building a web server as simple as writing about 10 lines of code (But this doesn’t mean that you can’t create a much more robust server with a standard server application framework like Express.js or Node.js).

A lot of these applications that use Node are mostly built utilizing a MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and NodeJS), so Express.js is a key component in making this possible. 

2. Web Applications

This is probably quite obvious, but let’s talk about it anyway. As computers and browsers continue to evolve, JavaScript has made it possible to build robust web applications.

Functions like those that enable the user to click and drag or scroll is JavaScript at work.

3. Mobile Applications

For non-web contexts like mobile application, JavaScript is a powerful and dynamic language. It’s probably safe to say that mobile devices are now more popular than a desktop when it comes to accessing the internet. So this makes it more important to make them more engaging and responsive. Again, JavaScript makes it possible.

Although mobile apps are now an important web property, building apps can sometimes seem difficult. This is because mobile apps are built for Android and Apple. As these platforms require apps to be written in totally different languages, you need a lot of coders on board to develop and support the app for mobile and web.

But there’s a simple solution where you only have to write the code once. You can build the mobile app using JavaScript and React Native and deploy it to the respective app store.

The following apps were built with React Native:

  • Airbnb
  • Bloomberg
  • Bitt Wallet
  • Discover VR
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Ads Manager
  • Facebook Groups
  • Instagram
  • Walmart

4. Smart Watches

Wearable smart watches like Pebble run apps developed with JavaScript. In fact, they developed Pebble.js which is a small JavaScript framework to help developers build apps for Pebble’s line of smart watches.

Then there is Alpha WatchBench which uses JavaScript to help developers build iOS apps for the Apple Watch.

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5. Digital Art

HTML5 has new features like the canvas element that allows the browser to render 3D shapes. As a result, the browser has now become a fantastic medium to showcase digital art.

6. Presentations as Websites

The latest phenomenon for presentations is to create them as websites (if digital art is taking this route, why not presentations?). By taking advantage of the RevealJS library, those who are familiar with CSS and HTML can easily create some kick ass presentations.

These can still take the form of slides, but they will be developed using RevealJS, unlike PowerPoint or Keynote. This has created a whole new segment which is represented by Slides.

Once you see a presentation with JavaScript in action, it will be difficult to go back to PowerPoint.

7. Browser-Based Games

Browser-based games have become a vibrant arena to engage in online gaming. This wasn’t always the case, but the addition of the HTML5 canvas has taken it to another level. These games are already quite complex, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

8. Autonomous Flying Robots and Drones

Some of the commercially available quadcopters are embedded with a basic OS. As a result, it’s possible to install NodeJS. So now you can program these machines easily by using JavaScript.

AR Drone 2.0 offers a high-level API to read data back, stream video, and send commands, so there are some great opportunities in this space. There are even workshops to get you experimenting with these machines, so it can quickly become a weekend pastime.

These are just some of the cool things that you can build with JavaScript and there will be much more popping up all the time.

What other cool stuff can you add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Andrew is our IT storyteller and copywriter. His current undertaking is big data analytics and CSS as well as digital design and branding. He is a contributor to various publications with a focus on new technology and marketing.

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