CoffeeScript, Dart, Elm, and TypeScript

Script Mods

© Lead Image © Daniil Peshkov,

© Lead Image © Daniil Peshkov,

Article from Issue 202/2017

JavaScript is the stuff of which many interactive web clients is made, but it comes with a fair amount of historical ballast. The creators of four alternative scripting languages seek to ditch the ballast.

Browser-based interactive applications have helped the recent comeback of JavaScript, although the scripting language first saw the light of day in the mid-1990s. Over the course of time, JavaScript's makers added more and more new constructs to what was initially a fairly simple scripting language. One prime example is prototype-based object orientation, hated by many developers and often misunderstood and unused.

Not until 2015 was the scripting language, by then standardized as ECMAScript, given optional class-based object orientation. However, compared with Java, C++, and others, it still lacks certain features [1]; moreover, neither JavaScript nor ECMAScript offers type checking, which continually results in exception errors in practice.

For this reason, several scripting languages want to replace JavaScript – or at least simplify it in terms of programming. Some of the most widespread and popular examples are CoffeeScript, Google's Dart, Elm, and Microsoft's TypeScript. In a comparison, I describe what distinguishes the four candidates and in which areas they are superior to JavaScript.


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