Engineering

JavaScript vs. TypeScript: What Are the Differences?

4 min read

JavaScript has been powering web development since the early 2000s. A mainstay of interactive web development, JavaScript has been the recipient of many language enhancements over the years. One such enhancement is TypeScript.

TypeScript is an open-source programming language that was developed at Microsoft in 2012. The intent behind its introduction was to handle large-scale development projects better than JavaScript. It slowly gained favor with developers and in May 2022 joined the top five most wanted programming languages.

As a web developer or a hiring manager for a new development project, you are likely to come across the JavaScript vs TypeScript dilemma. Read on to learn more about the differences between the two and which one is the better choice for your project. 

What Is TypeScript?

TypeScript is an open-source, object-oriented programming language syntactical with JavaScript. This means that TypeScript shares its syntax and libraries with JavaScipt. In essence, it’s simply a superset of JavaScript, used to write clear JavaScript code.

TypeScript brought features like optional static typing, classes, and interfaces. It can be executed on Node.js or any browser supporting ECMAScript 3 or newer. With its explicit type system and pre-compilation debugging, TypeScript is ‘JavaScript that scales’.

Who Is Using TypeScript?

TypeScript is used by web developers who need a more scalable language for large-scale projects. Companies like Microsoft, Accenture, Slack, AMD, and more currently use TypeScript for many of their projects.

What Are the Advantages of TypeScript?

TypeScript was created as a means to improve JavaScript’s capabilities. It brings several key advantages over JavaScript that make it ideal for many modern development projects.

  1. Static Typing: TypeScript enforces the declaration of variables with a type. This is in contrast to JavaScript, which being loosely typed, allows redefining variables at any time. Static typing ensures bugs can be detected early, increasing productivity and reducing troubleshooting time. 
  2. Early Error Detection: TypeScript points out compilation errors in the pre-compilations stage, unlike JavaScript which is an interpreted language and detects errors during runtime. Hence, TypeScript reduces the likelihood of getting runtime errors. 
  3. Enhanced JavaScript: TypeScript is essentially JavaScript on steroids. It not only enjoys all of JavaScript’s features like inheritance, encapsulation, and cross-browser compatibility but also builds over them. It supports ES6 features like compact codeset, modules, arrow functions, and more. 

What Are the Disadvantages of TypeScript?

TypeScript also has a few disadvantages as compared to JavaScript.

  1. Compilation: TypeScript is a transpiler and needs to translate its code into JavaScript code. Due to the additional step of compilation of .ts files to .js files, TypeScript code takes longer to run, as compared to that of JavaScript. 
  2. Steep Learning Curve: TypeScript requires a steeper learning curve than JavaScript. It requires scripting knowledge and learning JavaScript as a precursor. 
  3. Strongly Typed: Due to its nature, TypeScript can sometimes feel rigid and labor-intensive, unlike JavaScript which allows more flexibility for the developer. 

What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript is one of the most widely used programming languages to develop interactive web pages. Created by Brendan Eich in 1995, JavaScript follows the rules of client-side programming and can be used seamlessly with technologies like REST APIs, XML, and more.

JavaScript still ranks in the top five most wanted programming languages, according to the Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2022. It’s a lightweight language that provides a unified development environment and integrates well with many other frameworks.

Who Is Using JavaScript?

JavaScript is an open-source web development language used virtually by every entity on the web. It’s compatible with every browser, works great for small scripts, and allows cross-compilation. Companies like Meta, Reddit, Asana, Slack, eBay, Telegram, and more use JavaScript for the majority of their projects.

 

What Are the Advantages of JavaScript?

JavaScript predates TypeScript by around 15 years and enjoys quite a few advantages over its newer variant.

  1. Framework Support: JavaScript has support for many more frameworks when compared to TypeScript. Its vast collection of frameworks and libraries can make the development process more streamlined for developers.
  2. Community Support: Due to its longer existence and sustained popularity, JavaScript’s community is much more robust and mature when compared to that of TypeScript.
  3. Unified Development: Though JavaScript was initially targeted toward front-end development, its latest versions have added support for back-end development as well. 

What Are the Disadvantages of JavaScript?

JavaScript is prone to the following disadvantages when it comes to debugging and browser support:

  1. Browser Support: JavaScript, in many cases, outputs different results in different browsers. This increases the chances of various functions not being supported by one browser or the other.
  2. Delayed Error Detection: JavaScript’s error detection is slower and delayed as compared to that of TypeScript. Even a single error can halt a code’s execution. 

What Are the Main Differences Between TypeScript and JavaScript?

After learning about the pros and cons of TypeScript vs JavaScript, we can summarize the differences between the two across various parameters:

  1. Data Binding: TypeScript uses features like types and interfaces to describe the data being used while JavaScript offers no such neatly-defined classification.
  2. Typing: TypeScript is a strongly typed language whereas JavaScript is a loosely typed one. TypeScript, unlike JavaScript, allows you to enforce type rules. 
  3. Learning Curve: TypeScript has a steeper learning curve as compared to JavaScript as it requires knowledge of JavaScript.
  4. Prototyping: TypeScript allows prototyping to clone objects without knowing their exact classes. This feature is not available in JavaScript.
  5. Error Detection: Early error detection is made possible in TypeScript due to its pre-compilation debugging. JavaScript detects errors during runtime.
  6. Community: TypeScript’s community doesn’t hold up against JavaScript’s huge community of developers.
  7. Compilation: TypeScript, being a transpiler, needs to compile to JavaScript code before it can run. JavaScript needs no compilation.
  8. Annotation: Developers need to annotate their code in TypeScript to make the most of its features. No such annotation is needed in JavaScript.

 

JavaScript vs. TypeScript: Which Is Better?

The decision to choose one or the other language depends on your use case and the unique cost-benefit analysis of your business. Neither language is inherently better on all counts. They’re better suited to different development scenarios.

If your project is limited to a few hundred lines of code, TypeScript will be overkill. JavaScript would be the ideal choice for such a project. But if you’re eyeing a complex project with multiple developers, you can fully reap the added benefits of TypeScript.

If you require a specific framework not supported by TypeScript or if your developers are already using test-driven development, the costs of moving to TypeScript will not outweigh the benefits gained.

Will TypeScript Replace JavaScript?""

In one word—no. 

TypeScript is a different programming language, suited to different use cases. The question of replacing JavaScript doesn’t arise. JavaScript is one of the most popular and essential building blocks of the web and is not going away anytime soon.

While TypeScript enjoys several advantages over JavaScript, it also lacks in a few areas like compilation time and framework support. TypeScript should be seen as an augmentation to JavaScript rather than a threat.

Whether you choose TypeScript or JavaScript, you’ll find yourself in the market for JavaScript developers. Trio can simplify your hiring process and give you streamlined access to world-class developers without the need for a bloated recruitment process.

As a Trio partner, you don’t incur expensive hiring costs and still get highly-trained and driven developers for your project.

Plus, you don’t even need to handle HR functions like payroll, benefits, and compliance. Trio takes care of the entire process, end-to-end.

Conclusion

JavaScript is extremely popular and fairly easy to learn. Many JavaScript developers are upskilling by picking up TypeScript as well. This makes hiring the right developers for your project trickier as you need to vet dozens, if not hundreds of candidates.

Contact Trio today to learn how we can help you tap the global talent pool of leading developers for your next project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a programming language that is core to modern web development. 

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is a strongly typed programming language and a syntactical superset of JavaScript. 

Build possibility with Trio

Right yellow arrow

Our partners are growing and innovating their businesses faster with Trio.