7 Interesting Uses of JavaScript

In the last three decades, JavaScript has grown from a small scripting language for a single browser to a tool used to add interactivity across the web. It is currently the most in-demand language across industries and is used to great effect in web development.

11-07-2022
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7 Interesting uses of JavaScript

In the last three decades, JavaScript has grown from a small scripting language for a single browser to a tool used to add interactivity across the web. It is currently the most in-demand language across industries and is used to great effect in web development.

But, it’s not just used on the web! The language is applied in more and more interesting environments. As a JavaScript developer, you aren’t limited to the browser. So, let’s look at some exciting places you can stretch and grow your JavaScript skills.

Smartwatch Apps

Everyone has a web app and a mobile app but how many people have a smartwatch app? Bangle.js is an open source and hackable smart watch that has all the features you’d expect - GPS, compass, pedometer and more. What makes it even cooler, is that you can develop apps for it entirely in JavaScript. If you get the watch you can add apps for games, to count down to a special event or have even have Mario’s nemesis Bowser tell you the time.

If you’re not ready to get a watch for yourself, you can build an app in the emulator and see what you’re missing.

Desktop app development

You know JavaScript can be used to develop web and mobile applications but did you know that it can be used to build cross-platform desktop apps? Using a project like Electron it is easier than you think to build native applications. Lots of large projects like Visual Studio Code, WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams are built using Electron.

Electron works by interpreting HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create platform specific bundles. It makes hard things like automatic updates, native menus and crash reporting easy.

There are lots of benefits to using JavaScript in this context rather than a compiled language. The most compelling is the increased development speed. As JavaScript is interpreted line but line, developers can effortlessly debug and optimise their applications. This allows value to get to customers much faster.

Presentation software

When preparing a presentation for a pitch or for some training, getting everything to look good can be a challenge. There are two excellent JavaScript projects that can come to your aid here.

Reveal.js allows you to create your slides in HTML, using CSS and JavaScript to give an engaging presentation. You can build and use plugins in JavaScript to add automatic word clouds, navigate your slides with speech or include simple quizzes.

Another project in the same vein is Slidev. In this project you maintain your slide content in Markdown and can render using custom Vue components. You don’t have to build your own as the included themes are really flexible.

Both of these projects allow you to export your presentations to PDF, so JavaScript can provide the presentation and the slide deck for your next great startup idea.

Flying drones and robots

If you next idea is to build a robot or develop an IoT product, then JavaScript has you there as well. Johnny Five is a robotics and IoT platform that can support your next physical product. Whether you’re seeking to build with an Ardunio, a Raspberry PI or even integrate with a Philips Hue, this framework has you!

Why not build a boat or submarine powered by JavaScript? Or maybe your own voice control system that isn’t provided by a large company? How about a swarm of spider-like hex bots to move things around your house?

I really enjoyed this book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23466703-javascript-robotics from Make which gave me a lot of ideas for my next project.

7 Interesting uses of JavaScript


Generative Art

While those creative juices are flowing, you can leverage JavaScript to help with your next art project. Generative Art is created with code and relies on loops and intervals to create delightful experiences. It draws a lot of inspiration from pop art and generally makes use of orderly geometric patterns. These self-governed, autonomous creations often surprise the coding artist as they often incorporate randomness into their creation.

You can manipulate the canvas with raw JavaScript or you can leverage a library such as p5 or Zim.js to make your creations more quickly.

Have a look at here (https://codepen.io/zimjs/pen/XWjrmoQ) and here (https://codepen.io/aspittel/pen/VGNOeG) for some inspiration.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality headsets are becoming more popular and accessible. There is a core JavaScript API that helps build experiences from property walk-throughs, shopping experiences or immersive games.

The WebVR API captures information from VR Devices connected to a computer and converts it to useful data that you can use in your own applications.

If you want to reduce the amount of boilerplate you have to write then a project like A-Frame can help. With this project, you can develop from a plain HTML file providing a rich-markup language. It also provides an extended version of three.js (https://threejs.org/) with a more composable and extensible API.

Music production

If music is more your thing then you can use JavaScript to help inspire your next project. We’ve had the HTMLAudio API (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/audio) for a long time now which allows you to play and control audio from various sources. Even with just this tool you can create soundboards that can help you be the new Daft Punk.

If you want to have greater control over the audio you can use a project like Howler.js. This library is used by companies like Disney and Lego to help build immersive, spatial audio experiences.

Instead, maybe you’d rather create interactive music. A tool like Tone.js might be just what you need. The API for this framework will feel familiar to any audio programmer or digital musician. The demo page for this project is really inspiring with one of my favourites being this pentatonic tone board.

Where next?

Learning JavaScript can allow you to grow professionally and open up doors that might be closed otherwise. Individuals and teams can use the language to build engaging and innovative experiences that bring value to their businesses and customers.

On top of that though, there are ever growing opportunities to use JavaScript in creative and exciting ways. Hopefully this list has inspired you to think beyond the browser and come up with ways to use JavaScript to feed your passions.


Would you like to know more?

If you found this article interesting you might be interested in some of our JavaScript courses.

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