TypeScript vs JavaScript: Key Differences

Gillian Harper By Gillian Harper  |  Apr 23, 2024  |  Web Development
TypeScript vs JavaScript

The influence of the right programming language selection for web development is vital. It impacts website performance, scalability, security, and maintainability. JavaScript is a popular programming language for web development well-known for its versatility, imperative programming assistance, dynamic typing, DOM manipulation, and a vast community.

The inefficiencies in JavaScript for server-side development brought another technology to the market that filled the void but did not replace it. TypeScript is an alternative tech language gem packed with all the JavaScript features alongside extra functionalities that make comprehensive web development a breeze.

According to a report from JetBrains, “TypeScript’s share has almost tripled over six years, increasing from 12 percent to 34 percent. However, JavaScript reigned supreme, and TypeScript could never catch up with JavaScript. Ninety-two percent of TypeScript developers use JavaScript, with 40 percent choosing it as one of their primary languages.”

It signifies that the two languages- TypeScript and JavaScript- which have managed to crack the top five are the favorites of web developers. In the same vein, the JavaScript vs TypeScript debate is fast gaining steam. In this blog, we will see the differences between JavaScript and TypeScript, the benefits of using these languages over others, and when JavaScript or TypeScript aligns with your web project development needs.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript or JS, as it is popularly known, is a client-side scripting language. According to Statista, 6 out of 10 developers prefer JavaScript to build wide-ranging digital products. Big names like PayPal, Meta, Netflix and Airbnb use JavaScript.

JavaScript follows the ECMAScript specification. Over the years, JavaScript has emerged as one of the core technologies to develop digital products like web and mobile apps along with interactive web pages. JavaScript is a JIT(just in time) compiled programming technology that embeds scripts within HTML pages and then interprets these scripts during runtime.

JavaScript is popular amongst developers due to its distinguishing features like dynamic typing, prototype-based object orientation and first-class functions. JavaScript provides imperative programming assistance and functional event-driven styles. These are the factors that help in making JavaScript a multi-paradigm technology. JavaScript has the support of an API to handle tasks related to DOM(document object model).

A major benefit of JavaScript is that in case of web page loading, the scripts written in JavaScript get executed automatically. Now the developers can embed JS engines in specific servers using Node.js. This ability of JavaScript proves especially useful for Node.js developers. The JavaScript developers can even embed code written in JavaScript derivatives like Dart, TypeScript and Kotlin into hybrid app development frameworks like Apache Cordova and Electron.

JavaScript developers have access to a rich ecosystem of frameworks. It is easy to find the following type of JavaScript framework developers.

What is TypeScript?

TypeScript, or TS, in short, is a coding language that is a superset of JavaScript. The name TypeScript comes from the fact that it has optional typing. TypeScript is an open-source and object-oriented coding language developed by Microsoft. The idea behind building TypeScript was to overcome the limitations of JavaScript.

Ever since its launch, TypeScript has evolved into one of the most popular programming languages in the industry. A developer survey conducted by Stack Overflow in 2021 suggests that TypeScript is one of the top three most sought after coding languages amongst the developer community. Although JavaScript is more popular than TypeScript, the coding language from the house of Microsoft is gaining traction fast. According to the same report, 6 out of 1 developers would love to use TypeScript in their future projects. Companies like Accenture, Asana, Slack and Microsoft are already using TypeScript.

TypeScript helps developers build better web and mobile apps as the language extends the capabilities of JavaScript. TypeScript is a coding language that makes the job of developers easy by letting them build easy-to-maintain JavaScript code. TypeScript is a statically typed coding language that can be used on Node.js or any other browser that supports ECMAScript version 3 and above.

TypeScript provides developers with a lot of features like modules, variables, inheritance, interfaces, unions, and statements, to name a few.

Difference between JavaScript and TypeScript

Most people have a question: what is the difference between TypeScript and JavaScript? The following are the parameters on which you can compare JavaScript and TypeScript and find out the differences between the two languages.

Client-Side or Server-Side

JavaScript is leveraged for building client-side applications due to DOM manipulation, interactive UI creation, support for asynchronous programming, and cross-browser compatibility. JavaScript is also used for server-side development, but TypeScript enables building high-performance, scalable applications.

NPM Packages

NPM packages make JavaScript development safer and more elegant, and even a free NPM registry is the center of JS code sharing. JS provides a way to create code without a build step. On the other hand, TypeScript provides static type definitions to NPM packages, making them easier to install.

Prototyping

JavaScript does not support prototyping, which is available with TypeScript.

Syntax

JS follows a standard syntax and follows the ECMAScript definition. TypeScript syntax is similar to JS syntax, with support for additional features such as arrow function syntax, modules, and classes.

Debugging

TypeScript is a statically typed language that helps with faster code completion and earlier bug detection. As static typing is missing in JS, it requires more debugging and testing.

Documentation

JavaScript (JS) developers leverage the JSDoc tool for documenting methods and property types. TypeScript facilitates design-by-contract programming that enables quality documentation. The TypeDoc tool helps extract information such as method, property types, class, and interface from the code, which enables comprehensive documentation compared to JavaScript.

Interface Support

The support for interface by TypeScript defines specific syntax for classes where object structure and type of data are specified. On the contrary, the support for the interface is lacking in JavaScript.

Data binding

To describe the data being used, TypeScript uses concepts like types and interfaces. JavaScript lacks such data binding concepts.

Learning curve

The learning curve of TypeScript is steeper as compared to JavaScript. This is because prior scripting knowledge is required to learn TypeScript. This is not the case with JavaScript, which is easy to learn and understand.

IDE support

Due to its static nature, TypeScript offers much better refactoring support. JavaScript does not provide that powerful refactoring support.

Coding speed

It takes more time to code in TypeScript as compared to JavaScript. This is due to the fact that it takes more time to compile code in TypeScript.

Annotations

No annotations are required in JavaScript, while constant code annotations are required in TypeScript.

Typing

TypeScript is a strongly typed scripting language that supports both static as well as dynamic typing. JavaScript, on the other hand, supports only dynamic typing.

Community

TypeScript has a growing but small community, while JavaScript has a large community of developers.

Benefits of using TypeScript over JavaScript

Let us see some benefits that TypeScript provides over JavaScript.

TypeScript provides web development developers with an option to do static typing. JavaScript only provides dynamic typing. Static typing helps improve code accuracy. With TypeScript, code restructuring is very easy. Code restructuring allows the developers to identify coding errors faster. TypeScript allows the developers to deliver concise code. Apart from that, the TypeScript compiler can compile .ts files into ECMAScript. Thus the developers can use TypeScript in all those places where JavaScript is used.

Benefits of using JavaScript over TypeScript

Here are some benefits of JavaScript that give the developers an upper hand over their TypeScript peers.
Dynamically typed JavaScript takes much less time to complete tasks as compared to statically typed TypeScript. In TypeScript, the developers might find it hard to overcome a bottleneck as there is a lack of enough documentation in TypeScript. Many popular JavaScript libraries are older than TypeScript. Hence it sometimes proves to be difficult to work with these libraries.

When to choose TypeScript and when to choose JavaScript?

Any discussion regarding TypeScript vs JavaScript would be incomplete without identifying the use cases for each technology.

When to use JavaScript?

There are certain use cases wherein it is feasible to use JavaScript as compared to TypeScript.

When you don’t want transpilation

Unlike JavaScript, the developers cannot run TypeScript directly in a browser as there is no native support for TypeScript in popular browsers like Google Chrome, Opera or Mozilla. This means that the developers need to compile the code first. Hence to run TypeScript, the developers will need to check the compatibility of code with the browser and find a compiler. There are no such issues with JavaScript.

When flexibility is a priority

Dynamic typing allows the developers a huge amount of flexibility. Dynamic typing enables the developers to assign a new variable to any type at any moment. Dynamic typing thus helps the developers build new functionalities without needing to stick to the same rules every single time.

Dynamic typing proves handy when the requirements change and the project grows. Dynamic typing proves especially helpful when you have a small team. If you have a small application, then a JavaScript based codebase will be much easier to maintain as compared to a TypeScript codebase.

When to choose TypeScript?

When the project has a large codebase

If your project is large and complex, then it will have a large codebase. A large codebase means that a lot of developers will be working on the project simultaneously. With so many developers working on the same project, the chances of errors get multiplied. With JavaScript, it is difficult for the developers to catch errors as JavaScript only allows dynamic typing.

TypeScript allows static typing, leading to more uniformity in typing. TypeScript allows the developers to catch errors before runtime.

When your developers are accustomed to static typing

Building a dynamically-typed codebase can prove to be a challenge if your developers are accustomed to working on statically-typed technologies like JavaScript. TypeScript allows the developers the option of static typing wherever static typing makes development easy.

Note that if your developers know how to code in C#, then it will become easier for them to learn TypeScript.

When the speed of development is important

If your project has a tight deadline, then TypeScript can prove to be the correct technology to go for. TypeScript does not need to run the garbage collector and helps the developers catch bugs in real-time. This way, the developers can finish the development fast.

Where errors can prove costly

It is preferable to use TypeScript in industries like finance and health that handle sensitive data. This is because the developers need to conduct a lot of checks for JavaScript code. TypeScript allows the developers to identify the issues quickly. Hence TypeScript is best used for projects that involve big teams and where code errors can prove to be costly.

TypeScript vs JavaScript: Which One Is Better to Choose?

We have provided you with a detailed TypeScript vs JavaScript comparison in this blog. Both the languages have their own pros and cons. You need to choose the language that can fulfil your project’s requirements. Hire expert web development companies to help you select the best language for your project.

FAQ About TypeScript and JavaScript

How does the type system differ between JavaScript and TypeScript?

TypeScript supports a static type system where data types are defined within the code. Conversely, JavaScript supports a dynamic type system where variables are assigned data types at the runtime.

In what scenarios does TypeScript excel over JavaScript?

The support for a static typing system ensures using TypeScript enhances code readability and maintainability. Having interfaces, advanced type-checking, comprehensive documentation, and enums are the plus points of TypeScript that give developers an edge over JavaScript.

Can TypeScript be used alongside existing JavaScript code?

Yes, TypeScript and JavaScript are used together in the project to leverage the best features of both programming languages when required.

What are some companies that are using TypeScript?

There are many leading companies use TypeScript in their project tech stack, including Accenture, DoorDash, Slack, KAVAK, Asana, and Canva.

What are some companies that are using JavaScript?

The world’s top companies using JavaScript are Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Uber, Google, Groupon, and Walmart.

What are the Files Extensions of TypeScript and JavaScript?

The file extension of TypeScript is .tsx, and its JSX of JavaScript.

Gillian Harper Gillian Harper   |  Apr 23, 2024

A professionally engaged blogger, an entertainer, dancer, tech critic, movie buff and a quick learner with an impressive personality! I work as a Senior Process Specialist at Topdevelopers.co as I can readily solve business problems by analyzing the overall process. I’m also good at building a better rapport with people!

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