In the beginning, the Web wasn’t very interesting.
Back then, the browser race was hotly contested between two players. The first was Netscape, with their dominant Navigator product. The other was the upstart Internet Explorer, by Microsoft. Both companies had seen the massive potential of the Internet, and were trying to create the browser which would thrust it into the mainstream.
Netscape wanted to create a programming language that was both easy to grasp for non-beginners, but would also allow the developer to exercise a greater control of what happens within the browser window.
Developed in ten days by Brendan Eich, the man who (albeit very briefly) would go on to lead Mozilla, it allowed developers to write code in a variety of styles (functional, imperative and object-oriented) in a language which closely resembled other popular languages of the day, such as Java, C++ and C.
This meant that developers had to write more and more complicated code, just to ensure their websites worked across all versions of all popular browsers.
The answer to this issue was jQuery.
Launched in 2009, Node.js is a free, open-source, cross-platform toolkit for the creation of high-performance server-side applications, such as web servers and applications. In the years since it was launched, it has been adopted by thousands of developers and companies, including Groupon, LinkedIn and PayPal.
What makes Node.js so special is its speed, and its expansive community of developers who contribute code and modules.
For more information on Node.js, check out this more detailed explanation by James Bruce.
Mobile App Development
Mobile apps are big money.
Don’t take my word for it! Just look at Nick D’Aloisio, whose Summly app was bought by Yahoo for $30 million when he was at the tender age of 17. Or even Rovio, whose Angry Birds game spawned a multi-million dollar franchise, which boasts toys, films, and even a few theme park attractions.
It accomplishes this with a syntax which strongly resembles Python and Ruby (two languages known for their ease of use and readability). The CoffeeScript compiler also enforces good coding standards which make your code simpler to read by other developers.
Frankly, It’s hard to imagine the Internet without it.
Photo Credit: I Love jQuery (Christian Ditaputratama)