Can Javascript Really Be the Latin of Mobile Development?

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Amidst all of the excitement about HTML5 and CSS3 and the wonderful things that we can do with them, it’s been easy for me to forget that the third piece of this whole puzzle, Javascript, is still going to be Javascript.  I’m not the rabid Javascript-hater that I used to be (thank you especially to libraries like jQuery and Prototype) but am I not fully ready to embrace Javascript as the go-to language for mobile apps.

Platforms like PhoneGap simplify mobile app development by allowing you to develop your apps using just HTML/CSS/Javascript (so now you need not write the app in Objective-C, Java, C++/C# and/or whatever else you might need to support your favorite device).   For folks who love Javascript this is takes a great thing and makes it even greater.  Alas for me, it takes a programming language that I don’t much like because of it’s loosey-goosey typing, occasionally bewildering syntax, and lack of full object-oriented features and promotes it into a role that I’m not entirely sure that it’s ready for.

There are, however, indications that my gut reactions to Javascript are misplaced and that Javascript is close to being ready for its new grander role.  CommonJS, for example, is a group of developers that have designs to carry Javascript to newer and loftier levels and quiet the doubts and suspicions of folks like me.  They are intent on the implementation (there are a number of them already in various states of completion) of a standard library of functionality comparable to those of languages like Python, Ruby, or Java.

If I may indulge in a brief flight of fancy, just as Latin emerged from its early status as the ugly kid brother of Greek to prove itself worthy as the language not only of ancient Rome but that of western Europe until the 18th century and beyond, Javascript could in fact be poised for a similar move in a much faster-paced early 21st century world of web and mobile development.


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