Javascript’s growth in popularity in the past 5 years has been groundbreaking. But it’s roots can be pin pointed to a few pivotal moments that changed the way it’s adopted in today’s web.

###Open Source

Javascript is open source. What this means is that people the future development and improvements is contributed by thousands of developers around the world. Being the opposite of proprietary software, Javascript is free to evolve. As the web grew into different needs and formats, so did Javascript. The open nature of Javascript allowed the community to build frameworks and interpreters that continue to make Javascript Relevant.

###Death of Flash and the Rise of Mobile

Remember when flash websites were the “in” thing? Well it’s practically almost gone now, thanks to Steve Jobs’ crusade against Flash! Once Apple decided to pull Flash out from the release of the original iPhone, web designers everywhere were forced to find another way to make their websites more interactive and flash-like.

Because flash was proprietary software, it was hindering its growth. Flash is known to be a memory and CPU hog, which quickly drained batteries on mobile devices. Javascript on the other hand is open source. Once developers were convinced by the speed, portability and many frameworks of Javascript, it became the go-to interactive medium for the web, replacing Flash. With the popularity of smartphones today, Flash is nowhere to be found! Even Google’s Android stopped supporting Flash after its big push to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). Apple’s iOS platform grew even bigger with the launch of the iPad and further fueled the growth Javascript.

###Javascript Frameworks and Development Techniques

With Javascript’s open nature, many frameworks were built to make Javascript better. When people ask “what makes Javascript interactive”, the answer is commonly Ajax and jQuery.

jQuery is a client-side scripting language for HTML websites. Used by over 80% of the 10,000 most visited websites, jQuery is the most popular JavaScript library in use today. It takes the heavy lifting of making interactive websites out of the we-server and puts it on your browser. This takes load off the server and makes browsing faster for you!

With Ajax (short for Asynchronous Javascript and XML), web applications can send data to, and retrieve data from, a server asynchronously (in the background) without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. This is a client side programming technique, that runs on your browser. This technique allows websites to send data on a as-needed basis. Once more information is requested, the browser can request specific information as it needs without having to reload the entire webpage. This makes browsing faster by transmitting less data!

The list of javascript frameworks keeps growing with the likes of Sencha, jQuery Mobile, AngularJS, CoffeeScript, MooTools, YUI Library and more.

###Node.JS

While everything so far has worked on the browser side, a recently new technology gaining popular attention over the past 3 years is Node.js, a server side Javascript framework built to make serving websites even faster. It’s creators intended to make a way for browsers to be able to push information from the server to the browser without having the user to keep checking for new information. Just how PHP and Ruby run many of today’s websites, Node.js is set to become the future replacement of these technologies, built on top of Javascript.

###Browser Wars 2.0

All browsers claim to be the fastest, but that’s primarily because of their Javascript interpretors (or also called Javascript Engines). Check out the Chrome Ad embedded above on why Chrome is extremely fast! Chrome’s speed is the result of the most widely adopted Javascript Interpretor called the V8, embedded inside all Chrome Browsers. Apple’s Safari browser has the Nitro (or Javascript Core). The Mozilla Firefox guys use the SpiderMonkey. All browsers have JavaScript interpreters built in, and they are all fiercely competing to have the fastest one! When browsers compete, you have a faster client-side Javascript experience!