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    What is TypeScript and When to Use It

    What is TypeScript and When to Use It

    Tracy Watson


    9 min read

    what is typescript

    The TypeScript programming language is trendy among developers nowadays. In fact, according to a report by the Redmonk, an analyst firm, TypeScript has moved up four spots in its semiannual ranking of languages from number twenty-two to sixteen. Given that the popularity of TypeScript is on the rise, it is a good idea to learn all about. Let’s take a closer look at the programming languages that is causing quite a buzz in the development world.    

    Background of the TypeScript Language   

    The TypeScript was created by Microsoft in 2012 and has risen to prominence, despite the wide array of programming languages available to developers. While its rise has not been as fast as Swift, which holds the overall growth record since Redmonk started keeping track of the rankings, it still managed to beat out quite a few competing languages. The proof is in the pudding. The number of apps using TypeScript is on the rise. One of the most popular tools released by Google, Angular, is written in TypeScript, as is Vue, which is used by large companies such as Alibaba.    

    The interest shown in TypeScript is not based on how many developer jobs are available or even the number of companies that actually use it. The ranking published by Redmonk is based on the number of projects currently on GitHub that use TypeScript and the number of questions asked about it on Stack Overflow. The goal was to get an understanding of where the developer profession is going in the next couple of years. 

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    TypeScript vs JavaScript   

    TypeScript is basically a variation on JavaScript, which is also a longtime favorite in the Redmonk rankings. Pretty much all web apps use some JavaScript on the user end, while many are starting to use it on the back-end as well. Even though JavaScript is used to create mobile and desktop apps, it was not designed as a language that can be used to develop complex apps. This is where Microsoft TypeScript comes in. It adds some features that enable a custom web development service to build large scale projects. These features include the VS Code, which allows the TypeScript code to be translated into JavaScript so that it can work on any browser that is capable of running JavaScript. In addition to the above, you also get the following benefits:   

    • Support for other JavaScript libraries – TypeScript JavaScript is capable of reusing all of the current JS tools, frameworks, and libraries.    
    • Convertibility – Any .js file can be renamed to a .ts file
    • Portability – TypeScript can be run in virtually any environment across all browsers, OS, and devices. In can work on anything that runs JavaScript. Also, it does not need its personal virtual machine or runtime environment to execute the code, unlike its counterparts Dart and CoffeeScript.    

    What is TypeScript Used for?   

    TypeScript is used for creating large applications. In fact, when creating TypeScript, Microsoft had the motto “JavaScript that scales.” It is much easier to maintain a large codebase with TypeScript because it simplifies the JavaScript code, it includes tools to increase the effectiveness of developers and has a very powerful type system.     

    TypeScript is very useful for debugging efforts. With plain old JavaScript, you have to waste a lot more time to find bugs because it is an interpreted language. This means that you have to run the code in order to check for bugs, which requires a lot of time. TypeScript has a transpiler that automatically checks the code for any issues. If it notices any syntax errors, it will generate compilation errors, which helps spotlight the bugs before the code is actually run.

    typescript language

    Start using TypeScript despite excuses   

    One of the biggest excuses people use for not using TypeScript is that the learning curve is too steep. However, it is essential to remember that TypeScript us not totally new. All it does is take regular JavaScript and adds a type system onto it. Therefore, switching from JavaScript to TypeScript should be such a big leap.    

    The next biggest excuse is that the TypeScript hype is not going to last i.e., it is not the development language of the future. Despite all the rankings and metrics that are available today, nobody really knows what will be in demand five years from now or any other extended time period. Furthermore, the IT industry is very dynamic and fast-paced, so if you can benefit from adopting a certain technology today, you have to do it. Even if you end up changing in the next year or two, the benefits that you gain from using it will be well worth it.    

    Finally, there is a notion that it will be too hard to convert your current project into TypeScript. However, Microsoft built TypeScript with the JavaScript ecosystem in mind, and they made adopting TypeScript very easy. In fact, you can get some early benefits simply by running your existing JavaScript code through the TypeScript compiler. It will catch some small bugs and then you can start renaming the .js files to .ts. You can adopt TypeScript at your own pace since you will be able to set the compile options on various parts of the project.    

    We hope that all of the information about TypeScript and its relationship with JavaScript was useful in determining whether or not this programming language will be suitable for you. If you are comfortable using JavaScript, adopting TypeScript should be easy and very rewarding.

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