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Asynchronized programming seems to be natural in Javascript - it is the "first choice" to do many things.

But in most other programming languages, asynchronization is more like a second choice rather than first choice.

What makes asynchronizated programming so popular and natural to Javascript?

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Especially when used in a browser environment, there are no threads (let's ignore the rather new WebWorkers for now) available - all JS runs in a single thread which is usually the same one that also handles e.g. rendering of the page.

So performing actions in a blocking manner is simply not an acceptable option - especially since most actions that involve IO in JavaScript usually cause network IO which, unlike disk IO, is usually rather slow and thus blocking everything until a request finished is not acceptable.

  • WebWorkers seem to be useless for the purpose they were created anyway, the serialization/deserialization overhead is insane – Esailija Aug 4 '13 at 23:31
  • @Esailija: I've found them useful occasionally within Firefox extensions. However, on a normal website I think they'd introduce more issues than they'd resolve. I think this might change over time. The overhead isn't a big deal if you're doing something non-trivial. And to be fair, threads are pretty expensive in most other languages, too. – Brian Aug 5 '13 at 1:02
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    @Esailija Note that WebWorkers transferable objects solve some of the serialization issues, by allowing a worker to relinquish its hold on some memory space and give it to the main thread (thereby avoiding the need to do a copy at all). I believe the usefulness of this technique is limited by the fact that only a few object types can be passed in this way. – apsillers Aug 5 '13 at 13:13

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