Hello I have been using C++ and Java for years. For better or for worse, I have always looked at JavaScript as not as powerful as these languages and therefore probably not worth my time and effort to learn.

However, I have recently been more interested in web development. I have researched Rails, MySQL databases, Html5, etc. I have been working a lot with GWT. I like GWT, but I have read that people feel too constrained by Google and that you probably have to know JavaScript anyway for making anything worthwhile.

I don't have any specific kinds of websites in mind at the moment, just learning as much as I can. I really want to become proficient with setting up and querying databases, and using them to provide user generated content to a webpage.

My question is, can I get away with not learning JavaScript, or do I have to bite the bullet? I know I am being lazy, but there are just so many tools out there that it is hard to know which are worth learning sometimes.

I have also been researching languages like DART, but since it also compiles to JScript, and currently only Google implements it, I can't see a great reason to learn it.

Sorry my question is so long, and thank you.

  • 1
    ...just learning as much as I can. -- Then you don't have much objection to learning Javascript, do you? Pick up a copy of "Javascript, the Good Parts" and you won't have to learn the cruft. Yes, you're going to need it. Sep 9, 2013 at 22:06
  • javascript in this decade is as revolutionary as c in 1970's...must must must learn..There is so much you can do with it.If you dont know javascript,you are definately missing something in life... Sep 10, 2013 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


In a word, yes.

In more words: I think this question could be reworded to apply less specifically to your particular situation, however, broadly speaking I would say "yes", if doing web development without solid understanding of JavaScript you will probably be more ignorant of the "full picture" of what's going on in the browser than you should be.

JS is, for better or worse, the de facto language of the web browser, and via node.js is becoming increasingly popular on the backend, and is one way to introduce oneself to functional programming. It therefore seems reasonable to conclude, that although JS has "issues", there are enough reasons to develop a capability with it until something comes along to displace it.


To some extent you can think of JavaScript as the "assembly language for the web". That is, it forms the foundation for most client-side web programming.

But like assembly language, you don't always need to code directly in JavaScript. You have several good options for languages that compile to JavaScript, e.g.

  • ClojureScript
  • CoffeeScript
  • DART
  • Java (e.g. via Vaadin / GWT)

Still, even if you use one of these languages, you'll need to understand some JavaScript in order to make use of the underlying JavaScript libraries. So my practical recommendation is to learn some JavaScript anyway - even if you move to one of the "higher level" languages, this knowledge will serve you well.


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