TypeScript vs JavaScript: Which One You Should Use, and Why

This article will look at TypeScript versus JavaScript: how they compare, and when to use TypeScript versus JavaScript. We’ll explore what TypeScript really is, why it exists, and its advantages and disadvantages.

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript is an open-source programming language developed and maintained by Microsoft. It is a superset of JavaScript: any JavaScript code runs in the TypeScript environment.

TypeScript was created to address the problems encountered with developing large-scale applications in JavaScript. Those types of applications contain hundreds of different files. Making one change can affect the behavior of multiple files. Since JavaScript cannot validate connections between those files, developers have a lot of room to make mistakes that lead to bugs in production. Hence there was a need for a frontend language like TypeScript which includes static type checking.

TypeScript is a compiled language, unlike JavaScript, which is an interpreted language. You need to compile TypeScript to JavaScript for it to work in the browser. To compile TypeScript to JavaScript, you can use typescript npm package,

If you come from an object-oriented language like C# or Java, you’ll find many familiar features on the list that TypeScript adds. My favorite ones include enums, interfaces, access modifiers, namespaces, generics, and many more.

Because many external npm libraries are written in JavaScript, TypeScript needs a way to type-check them. This is where the type declaration files (.d.ts files) comes into play. Those type declarations provide type definitions along with information about the code. The compiler uses them to type-check TypeScript code. Nowadays, most JavaScript libraries have TypeScript definitions written for them. Even if a library lacks those definitions, TypeScript can sometimes infer types. Alternatively, you can quickly write the definitions yourself.

TypeScript is great for large scale web applications, as you can write frontend and backend code with it. On the backend, you need to install a library called ts-node To execute TypeScript code in a Node.js environment.

What are the advantages of TypeScript vs JavaScript?

In 2022, TypeScript joined the world of Top 5 most used languages, This isn’t surprising, as TypeScript is constantly evolving, adding new features, and has a great developer community that the TypeScript team listens to.

The most important advantage of TypeScript over regular JavaScript is its compiler, which provides type and error checking. It checks the validity of the type and shows errors in real time. This is especially useful when refactoring your code, as the compiler shows you things you may have missed.

When used in pairs with newer IDEs such as Visual Studio Code, TypeScript offers great Intellisense features such as code hinting and code completion. Those features help increase the pace of program development.

using the tsconfig file, a developer can configure the behavior of TypeScript. For example, TypeScript provides the option to transpile code to a previous version of JavaScript, so the code runs on all browsers. Another option a developer has is TypeScript’s strict mode, which adds many more checks to ensure the correctness of the code.

Another great TypeScript feature is the ability to run parallel with JavaScript code, making it easy to implement in legacy projects with multiple JavaScript files.

In addition, TypeScript allows the use of some ES6 and ES7 candidate features that are not yet supported by the major browsers. For example, the optional chaining operator and class constant They were available in TypeScript long before ECMAScript officially supported them.

Lastly, TypeScript provides many features that JavaScript lacks, which makes coding more fun and enjoyable. Features like interfaces, enums, and generics, to name a few, greatly improve the readability of your code.

What are the disadvantages of TypeScript vs JavaScript?

Although TypeScript offers many advantages, it also brings some disadvantages. None of those pitfalls are deal-breakers, but a new developer should be aware of them and consider them.

The most significant disadvantage of TypeScript is the false sense of security it brings to its users. Indeed, when developers get into TypeScript, they often rely heavily on its compiler, expecting it to flag every type error. You shouldn’t expect your TypeScript code to be 100% bulletproof. It’s a choice that TypeScript’s development team has made: to make TypeScript want to strike a balance between flexibility and correctness. Although TypeScript isn’t bulletproof, it’s still better than plain JavaScript code, in my opinion, because its compiler will find bugs you wouldn’t have otherwise. indeed it is Estimated TypeScript helps find 15% more bugs than JavaScript.

Another disadvantage of TypeScript is the additional compilation steps required. This step can slow down build times and complicate bundler setup.

Since TypeScript adds many new features that may be unknown to a frontend developer, it increases the learning curve of a codebase. In fact, when used to its full potential, it can be challenging for untrained developers to understand TypeScript and requires a lot of googling or advice from older peers.

TypeScript vs. JavaScript: Complex TypeScript Code

Finally, some developers complain that using TypeScript requires adding a lot of extra code to define types. While true, it saves time in the long run because it’s easier to onboard new project members. It also makes refactoring of the codebase easier.

When should you use TypeScript for a new project?

Adopting a new technology that you have no experience working with can be difficult. However, with TypeScript, it’s worth a shot, as its advantages outweigh its disadvantages.

If you’re working on a project alone and don’t plan on bringing in more outside help, I recommend choosing TypeScript for your next web application project. Although the initial few hours of setup and development can be daunting, you’ll quickly fall in love with TypeScript and never want to return to regular JavaScript. Initially, you’ll write your code slower, but TypeScript will save you debugging and refactoring time in the long run.

If you work on a project with teammates, the decision is more complicated, as it requires the consent of the team and management. Although, ultimately, using TypeScript will help your team, it will slow down development in the short term. Also, the team needs to be prepared to spend some time learning TypeScript, its features, and its best practices. This is where having an experienced teammate with TypeScript or another object-oriented programming language (such as C#) will help the team make a smooth transition.

If your team is willing to sacrifice short-term performance loss and initialization time to learn TypeScript, I recommend using TypeScript in your project. you will not regret it.

When should you not use TypeScript for a new project?

Even though TypeScript is generally great, there are reasons I wouldn’t recommend using it.

The biggest reason not to use TypeScript is if you or your team has to respect a strict deadline. The deadline is quite stressful, and it is not recommended to add a new technology that you have no experience working with. Unfortunately, learning TypeScript takes time, and this time may be better spent elsewhere for projects with deadlines.

In addition, configuring TypeScript can be challenging, especially for beginners. This may require installing multiple npm libraries and working with a bundler (such as webpack). If you’re not ready to spend the time learning this new information, don’t use it.

Another thing to consider is that using TypeScript will increase the entry limit for developers. If the project is open-source, this may increase the difficulty of developers contributing to it.

Also, for managers and hiring personnel, using TypeScript in a project means that the developers you hire must have experience using TypeScript or another. Oop Language: Hindi. Adopting TypeScript increases the minimum job qualification to work on the project and can increase the budget of the project, as you need to hire more experienced developers.

TypeScript vs JavaScript: What About Legacy Projects?

Moving a legacy project written with regular JavaScript to TypeScript provides a lot of benefits throughout the development life-cycle of the project. This helps to find bugs you haven’t noticed and simplifies project maintenance.

For small projects, migrating from JavaScript to TypeScript can be easily accomplished by installing the required libraries, changing the file extension from .js To .tsand fixing errors outputted by the TypeScript compiler.

This can get more complicated for projects with hundreds of different JavaScript files. Fortunately, you can adopt TypeScript sequentially. You may prefer to migrate some files to TypeScript and run them in parallel with legacy JavaScript code.

Another option is to keep legacy code and just write new features in TypeScript. When a feature touches a piece of legacy code, you can migrate as you work on it.

TypeScript vs. JavaScript: The Verdict

In this TypeScript vs JavaScript comparison, you’ve seen that TypeScript is a great object-oriented language that will help you build large-scale applications more efficiently.

Even though it has some disadvantages, such as the code complexity that it adds or the extra compile time, it will save you time in the long run.

If you work alone, I strongly encourage you to build your next application using TypeScript.

If you work with a team, adopting TypeScript may require some convincing. I encourage you to start building a TypeScript project in your spare time. Then you can show it to your peers and tell about all the benefits of TypeScript.

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