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> More candidates means more chaff, but also more wheat.

That needs substantiation. It's not immediately obvious in any way.

About Babel, notice how we never had a problem playing with language-level features that target the PC? That's the difference a good VM makes (although on the PC case, it's not virtual). Besides, you are conflating VMs and languages somehow - they have only a tenuous relation.

About the speed, Javascript misses most of the expressiveness of Python and Ruby. It's more on line with Java but if you want dynamically typed languages, with PHP and Perl too. Yet, it's not any faster than PHP and Perl. It has reasonably fast runtimes - those are not an issue for the language, but are not a big selling point either.

Overall, the reason Javascript still exists and is viewed as a serious language is all because it has a monopoly on the browsers. It was worked on enough that if that monopoly goes away it will still be a good choice for some stuff, but it is not an stellar language, and can't be coerced into becoming one unless it can pass through a Perl5 - Perl6 level transition.




>Overall, the reason Javascript still exists and is viewed as a serious language is all because it has a monopoly on the browsers.

Basically, this. ClojureScript and others are simply the efforts of sane, experienced developers that don't want to cope anymore with Javascript and its warts.


I don't think that comment requires more substantiation than yours that there are "low enough standards that newbies feel empowered without learning anything new". The more people that learn your language, the more likely it is that you will find some that can contribute to its state-of-the-art. A low bar doesn't effect people that would surpass a higher bar with ease: they still wish to learn and sate their natural curiosities.

In fact, the normal stereotype of JavaScript developers as people constantly chasing new technologies and libraries is actually true, but what you are claiming is the exact opposite: "people feeling empowered without learning anything new". People are empowered and learning new things because there is a low barrier to doing so and this is exciting.

  > misses most of the expressiveness of Python and Ruby.
  > It's more on line with Java
Have you actually written modern JavaScript code? I personally think it's more expressive than both Python and Ruby, and certainly much more so than Java.

  > Overall, the reason Javascript still exists and is
  > viewed as a serious language is all because it has a
  > monopoly on the browsers.
As it stands JavaScript doesn't have a monopoly on the browser. You can transpile ClojureScript, Elm, Reason, PureScript and many other languages to it. Yet -- surprise! It is still in use. Do you honestly think this is just inertia? I'd argue that it's investment in the platform itself and particularly 'innovation in maneuverability' (number of environments, speed of prototyping, backward compatible code, ease of hiring) which keeps developers using the platform.

In my opinion, the existence of NPM and a broad range of environments that you can run your code on will likely mean that JavaScript would still be a productive environment even if the web was to die.


>You can transpile ClojureScript, Elm, Reason, PureScript and many other languages to it. Yet -- surprise! It is still in use. Do you honestly think this is just inertia?

No, it isn't inertia -- one important reason is that creating a transpiler to JS invariably ends up with a crippled (feature-restricted), slower version of the original language (Clojure, etc.)

Thus the hope placed in Webassembly.


People aren't choosing between those languages based on performance or avoiding any due to missing features. I've never heard of anybody doing that.

People generally choose languages due to assumptions about their hiring pool.


If people only choose languages based on popularity, how do you imagine any language ever becomes popular?


My point is that those transpiled languages aren't that stymied. You can use them without a lot of problems, and they're being left on the bench for reasons other than their feature set.

Companies generally choose JavaScript because there are lots of developers to choose from, it runs everywhere and the ecosystem is huge.

Engineers choose something like PureScript as it's not a 'blub' language and people think that by choosing it they will be able to hire (or be seen as) "math geniuses". I'm sure the feature set is important, but it's not enough to unseat a language with the previously described properties.


> Javascript misses most of the expressiveness of Python and Ruby.

Could you please give examples of expressiveness of Python or Ruby that Javascript lacks?


You can't change the rules interpreting your source code so that the parser will expand a small command into an entire program, or that it will read a more fitting DSL that does not resemble your original language.

You can not inspect an object and change its type or the set of available properties based on some calculation.

You can not run some code in a controlled environment separated from your main code.




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