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I wonder if JavaScript is mainly loved for its frameworks and libraries? Without jQuery, node.js, etc., how many people would be singing its praise?

I believe since Java 6 (possibly 5), the JDK has come bundled with a minimal installation of Rhino which runs JS on the JVM. How many people actively use that? It's not hard to get going, 5 or less lines of code to start running a JS file and it will run everywhere with JRE >6.

But there's no jQuery, etc. It's a somewhat nicer way to work with Java since you aren't forced into I-don't-care-about-it-exception-catching hell and Map<Map<Map<...>>> madness, but compared to Jython or Clojure it doesn't match up. You can get a headless jQuery working with Rhino, though it's not as simple as it should be.

Rhino is really slow when compared to V8, like Ruby slow.

Rhino is slow, but it's freaking awesome if you need to write an algorithm that can run in the browser and on the server. Much much much nicer than having to maintain two implementations in two different languages.

Part of JS's popularity is definitely politics... the fact it's in the browser gives it a huge shot in the arm.

It's a decent language, though. Here's a comparison of JS to Ruby for some of the stuff people generally love Ruby for. JS comes out looking pretty decent.


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