JavaScript as a backend language

You’ve learned the basics, HTML, CSS and JavaScript and now you want to learn something serious, a backend  language.

This idea has been in heavy rotation in communities and groups and the answers vary a lot, just like the community. The premise itself is flawed from the very beginning, differentiating front development as easy and back end development as hard.

Moving past that another question arises: what language should you choose?

The answers go from PHP to Ruby, to Python and often enough to Node.js as well. Of course you have to take into account that everybody has a different learning process, so it depends a lot on how do you approach the language you choose. For beginners choosing the easy or let’s say approachable choice would be fine, but learning something useful is far more valuable, even if it’s harder.

This is one of those never ending debates, and the truth is,  it’s not meant to reach a bottom line, the value of it all is the debate itself. Which language should you choose after getting a good grip on the front end side?

Well, we’re going to recommend one, you guessed it – Node and we have one very good reason for it – universality. Let’s be honest, JavaScript has complete monopoly on the front end side. If you work client-side you use and know JavaScript so it makes sense to apply that knowledge to the backend as well, by using Node.js. Seems simple enough, but there’s a wall of misconceptions and old ideas that makes people doubt JavaScript in the backend and a part of that is JavaScript’s fault. It’s renowned as a front end language, the best and the most used and as such it’s been typecast as strictly front end. Backend JavaScript..pfaa..madness!

Node.js and JavaScript are (obviously) not the same thing, there are plenty of differences between them, but they share a commonality that makes all the difference (pun intended) – JavaScript itself. Node.js is built in JavaScript, and JavaScript, well JavaScript is just JavaScript. If you have a look at all the frameworks made in JavaScript, starting from React, Ember, Angular all the way to Cylon you can see how adaptable the language really is and how much you can do with it.

Node.js is just another, pretty big way to use JavaScript in a very important part of development. The back end side provides functionality and has always been seen as the serious side of programming, while the front stayed somewhere in the it’s sort of programming side. Node is not the next step in JavaScript, it’s not a evolution or extension of it, it’s an independent platform that runs JavaScript. This distinction is very important as JavaScript, due to its monopoly in the front end, is misrepresented as just a front end language.

If you already know JavaScript and want to try the backend world, you’re already three steps ahead because you know the language that Node runs. JavaScript is unbelievably versatile and through Node is also a very powerful back-end language.