TypeScript

TypeScript makes JavaScript developers work smarter

JavaScript is the single most popular programming language on the planet. Why? Because every company in the world has come to realize websites are a necessity for doing business. And to draw and keep users coming back to your site, you need to make that site as interesting and interactive as possible. With JavaScript, that’s not only possible – it’s easy. 

JavaScript is a text-based programming language designed for both client- and server-side that allows developers to make web pages interactive and exciting. JavaScript can be used for:

  • Client-Side Web Applications
  • Server-Side Web Applications
  • Mobile Applications
  • Desktop Applications
  • Web Games

It’s because of the use-cases listed above that JavaScript has become the hottest language on the planet. But JavaScript does have its limitations. For example, as JavaScript codebases grow, they tend to get messy and challenging to maintain, which means code isn’t always easily reusable. In today’s modern world of program development, reusable code makes for less work. And every software engineer should be thinking about working smarter, instead of harder. 

TypeScript is generally thought of as JavaScript for application development at scale. It’s a strongly-typed, object-oriented, compiled superset of JavaScript. Think of TypeScript as a super-charged version of JavaScript.

Because TypeScript fully embraces object-oriented programming, strong type checking, and compile-time error checks, it makes JavaScript a much more viable language for enterprise-class businesses.

TypeScript Developers Hiring Guide

  • How to choose the best
  • Interview questions
  • Job Description

From humble beginnings

TypeScript was created by Microsoft and first released in October 2012. Back then, it was criticized as immature, because of a lack of IDE support (outside of Microsoft Visual Studio). It took quite some time, but eventually, TypeScript found support in other IDEs and text editors across platforms (such as Linux and macOS).

Currently, the list of IDEs that support TypeScript includes:

  • Visual Studio Code
  • alm.tools
  • JetBrains
  • Atom
  • Cloud9 IDE
  • Eclipse IDE (via a plugin)
  • Codeanywhere
  • Angular IDE
  • Tide

With the help of plugins, TypeScript can be integrated with automation tools like Grunt, Apache Maven, Gulp, and Gradle.

Originally designed to overcome JavaScript’s inability to work with large-scale application development, the original developers sought a solution that wouldn’t cause compatibility issues and standards. To help bridge TypeScript and JavaScript, the developers created a JavaScript compiler that included a set of syntactic language extensions, which can transform the TypeScript extensions into standard JavaScript. 

TypeScript Features

The features of TypeScript make it appealing to companies looking to implement JavaScript-like functionality but on a large scale. Those features include:

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    TypeScript is really just JavaScript, so all of those JavaScript developers on your payroll, shouldn't have any problems adapting to this language.
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    Supports JavaScript libraries. TypeScript supports all of the existing JavaScript frameworks, libraries, and tools, so your developers should already have most of the skills they need to get started.
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    Portability. TypeScript is portable across all browsers, devices, and operating systems. In fact, any environment that supports JavaScript will support TypeScript.
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    TypeScript allows the optional chaining operator (?.) which enables developers to read the value of a property located deep within a chain of connected objects.
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    DOM manipulations. TypeScript can be used to manipulate the DOM for the adding or removing of elements (in a similar fashion to JavaScript).

Why should you employ TypeScript?

There are several reasons why your business should be making use of TypeScript, such as:

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    Typescript supports static typing.
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    TypeScript supports ECMAScript 2015 classes.
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    TypeScript supports generic programming.
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    TypeScript makes JavaScript code easier to read and debug.
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    TypeScript is open source, so it enjoys a large community and several open-source frameworks and libraries.
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    TypeScript enjoys all the benefits of ES6 (ECMAScript 6) and adds even more productivity features.
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    TypeScript helps developers to avoid common JavaScript bugs by checking the code as they type.
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    TypeScript includes a powerful type system (including generics).
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    TypeScript is a structural language, rather than a nominal one.
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    TypeScript code can be compiled according to ES5 and ES6 standards, so it supports all of the latest browsers.
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    TypeScript code is easier to understand than JavaScript.

The components of TypeScript

TypeScript is comprised of the following 3 components:

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    The TypeScript language - syntax, keywords, and type annotations.
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    TypeScript compiler - converts the instructions written in TypeScript to the JavaScript equivalent.
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    TypeScript Language Service - exposes an additional layer around the compiler pipeline to support the common set of standard editor operations (such as statement completion, signature help, formatting, and syntax highlighting).

TypeScript Modules

One of the ways TypeScript simplifies JavaScript is with the help of modules. TypeScript modules are designed to better organize code and are divided into 2 categories:

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    Internal Modules - used to logically group classes, interfaces, and functions into a single unit.
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    External Modules - specifies load dependencies between multiple external JavaScript files.

Conclusion

In the end, one of the most important questions is, “What can you use TypeScript for?” The answer is simple: If you can build it with JavaScript, you can build it with TypeScript, only bigger, more performant, and more easily. Because of this, TypeScript is ideal for larger companies that need JavaScript functionality at scale.

With TypeScript, you can build JavaScript applications for both client and server-side execution. And because TypeScript helps developers spot bugs as they type code, it’s a much more efficient language than JavaScript.

If this sounds like the perfect language to add to your current development team, you can test it out online or via the Python package manager, npm.

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