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JavaScript QuickStart: What Is JavaScript?

JavaScript. It has all the hallmarks of "flavor of the month"—its name is appearing everywhere and there's panting and foaming at the mouth over learning to use it. So what is it? And why should you care?


irst, a formal description:

JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language that lets you build interactions between page content, the state of the browser, and the actions of the reader.

In other words, JavaScript is a language that lets you make your pages interact with your readers and respond to what they do.

It is a programming language that can make your pages feel more dynamic and give feedback to your user. This is a good argument for learning and incorporating it into your web techniques basket.

It is a programming language that also has a learning curve in order for you to use it well. But don't let this scare you away from it—if you aren't a programmer, you can start out by learning a few basic concepts and then adapt existing JavaScript scripts for your needs.

If you don't want to tackle JavaScript, that's OK too. You can still make attractive pages that your readers will like, using standard HTML. Don't let the "flavor of the month" mentality convince you that only programmers or big budget outfits can have a Web page. But take a look through this section—you might surprise yourself by knowing more about scripting than you think.

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