Technology

Main advantages and disadvantages of TypeScript

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TypeScript programming language is like JavaScript in many ways, but slightly better. It has a number of advantages. Because of them for several years, TS is mentioned on the list of ten most popular programming languages. Below we will look at the main factors contributing to the popularization of TypeScript and the inherent shortcomings that make it less attractive in the eyes of programmers, software engineers and business owners.

What is TypeScript?

Most experts describe TypeScript as a programming language with some advantages over the most common JavaScript in the world. Created back in 1995, JS brought more interactivity to the design of websites on the Internet, which completely changed the landscape of front-end development. The vast majority of websites on the World Wide Web use JavaScript on the client side, and many use JS on the server side.

Despite its great popularity, JavaScript has a large number of disadvantages. The main problem is that this language is not well suited for enterprise-level application development. TypeScript does not have this shortcoming. It is very similar to JavaScript in terms of syntax and semantics. At the same time, this programming language has several additional advantages and tools that are in demand by large corporations. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Google used TS to build Angular for large-scale applications. The latest versions of Microsoft solutions also use technologies related to the JS ecosystem.

Since modern browsers cannot read TypeScript code, it is subject to conversion to plain JavaScript. After the process of transpiring- translating one programming language to another – the code can easily be used in a browser or server that can read JavaScript.

Key benefits of TypeScript and how to use them?

TypeScript has most of the advantages typical of JavaScript but offers additional goodies related to static typing and other popular features. They prove helpful for the large codebase and distributed teams working on the same project.

Optional static typing

JavaScript is a language with dynamic typing. Errors in hole types are detected while the program is running. It is not a disadvantage, providing greater flexibility and allowing software components to adapt more effectively to changing tasks. However, during the operation of any program, in one way or another, undefined variables arise, and potential errors accumulate in the code. This is especially true when solving large tasks and implementing large-scale projects.

TypeScript uses optional strong static typing. It is typical that during operation the variable changes only specific values, while the variable type does not change. The compiler warns developers about errors related to the type of variables. Thanks to this, the system can more effectively resist new errors and eliminate existing ones. Reducing the number of errors in turn contributes to speeding up the development.

Early spotted bugs

Programming language researchers have proven that TypeScript detects about 15 percent of errors at an early stage. The rapid elimination of a large part of the errors can significantly reduce developer time. Pushing code through the compiler, in turn, reduces the effort needed to maintain high-quality performance and test the system.

Readability

By adding strong types and other system elements that make the code more self-expressive, the intention of the coders who originally wrote the code becomes more understandable to an outside observer. This is incredibly convenient if you are working in a distributed team on the same project.

Fast refactoring

Any refactoring or update of an application requires that its codebase be reliable and maintainable. Otherwise, developers may have serious problems. TypeScript allows you to achieve this result in the shortest possible time.

In addition, a relatively large number of errors are detected automatically. For example, if you rename a function and then forget to change the name, TS will remind you of this. This simplifies and speeds up refactoring, which is especially useful when working with large parts of the codebase.

Cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility

Every device, platform, or browser that I use JavaScript in my work can also work with TypeScript. This is achieved by converting TypeScript to JavaScript. The compiler usually does the conversion in a short amount of time. Often, IDEs and editors that can read TypeScript already have a built-in TS compiler (tsc) that can be invited from the command line. TS effectively changes part of the codebase or the entire application at once by adding a configuration file named tsconfig.json to the appropriate root directory.

The main disadvantages of TypeScript

Lack of static typing

The lack of true static typing is a fairly common TypeScript problem. Many developers complain about the lack of this feature. This is a serious disadvantage, the work on the elimination of which is one of the unsolved problems.

Adding an extra step – transpilation

Due to the fact that browsers cannot read TypeScript, just before the program is launched, it is translated into JavaScript. This process is relatively automated and does not require much additional time. As a rule, errors arising during this process cannot cause significant damage to the system.

Conclusion

TypeScript continues to improve. Developers get control over how the system works. It becomes more manageable and, as a consequence, better able to meet the challenges it faces.

Zayd Dana
the authorZayd Dana