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Basic Javascript concepts for everyday development

Karthik MSN
~ 2 min read | Published on Apr 15, 2024


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JavaScript is a dynamic programming language that's integral to modern web development. Initially designed to make web pages alive, today it has far exceeded its original purpose, powering both client-side and server-side applications. Its ability to interact with HTML and CSS makes it a cornerstone of the World Wide Web, enabling developers to create interactive and dynamic user experiences.

As a beginner, mastering JavaScript opens the door to web development, allowing you to build anything from simple websites to complex web applications. This blog aims to introduce you to the basic concepts and constructs of JavaScript, emphasizing practical knowledge and examples that you can incorporate into your everyday development tasks.

Understanding JavaScript's syntax, operators, and control structures is the first step toward leveraging its full potential. By the end of this section, you'll be familiar with declaring variables, using different data types, and controlling the flow of your programs.

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Basic Syntax and Operators 

Variables and Data Types

In JavaScript, variables are containers for storing data values. The language supports several data types, including:

  • String: A sequence of characters used for text.
  • Number: Represents both integer and floating-point numbers.
  • Boolean: Has two values, true or false, used for logical operations.
  • Null: Denotes a null value.
  • Undefined: Indicates an uninitialized variable.
  • Object: Stores collections of data and more complex entities.

To declare a variable, you can use var, let, or const, each with its scope and mutability characteristics.

1let message = "Hello, JavaScript!";
2const pi = 3.14;
3var isLearning = true;


JavaScript provides a rich set of operators for performing various operations:

  • Arithmetic operators: +, -, *, /, and % for calculations.
  • Assignment operators: =, +=, -=, for assigning values.
  • Comparison operators: ==, ===, !=, !==, for comparing values.
  • Logical operators: &&, ||, !, for logical operations.

Control Structures

Control structures direct the flow of your program. JavaScript supports standard control structures like:

  • If-else statements: Execute code blocks based on conditions.
  • Switch statements: Select one of many code blocks to execute.
  • Loops: Repeat a block of code while a condition is true (for, while, and do-while loops).

1if (temperature > 30) {
2  console.log("It's hot outside!");
3} else {
4  console.log("It's not too hot today.");
7for (let i = 0; i < 5; i++) {
8  console.log(`Number ${i}`);

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Functions and Scope 

Defining and Invoking Functions

Functions are the building blocks of JavaScript code, allowing you to encapsulate and reuse logic. A function can take parameters, perform an action, and return a value. Functions can be defined in several ways:

  • Function Declarations: A standard way to define a function with the function keyword.
  • Function Expressions: Functions can also be defined within expressions, including anonymous functions.
  • Arrow Functions: Introduced in ES6, arrow functions offer a concise syntax and share the this context of their enclosing scope.

Function Declaration Example:

1function greet(name) {
2  return `Hello, ${name}!`;
4console.log(greet("Alice")); // Output: Hello, Alice!

Arrow Function Example:

1const greet = (name) => `Hello, ${name}!`;
2console.log(greet("Bob")); // Output: Hello, Bob!

Scope and Closure

Scope determines the visibility or accessibility of variables. JavaScript has two main types of scope:

  • Global Scope: Variables defined outside any function have a global scope and are accessible from any part of the code.
  • Local Scope: Variables declared within a function are local to that function and cannot be accessed from outside.

Closures are a powerful feature of JavaScript, where a function retains access to its outer scope even after the outer function has closed.

1function outerFunction() {
2  let count = 0;
3  function innerFunction() {
4    count++;
5    return count;
6  }
7  return innerFunction;
10const counter = outerFunction();
11console.log(counter()); // Output: 1
12console.log(counter()); // Output: 2

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Arrow Functions and Their Benefits

Arrow functions not only provide a shorter syntax but also have differences in handling this. Unlike traditional functions, arrow functions do not have their own this context but inherit it from the surrounding code. This makes them ideal for use in callbacks and methods where you want to access the parent scope's this value.

1const person = {
2  name: "Charlie",
3  actions: ["jump", "run", "walk"],
4  showActions() {
5    this.actions.forEach((action) => {
6      console.log(`${} can ${action}`);
7    });
8  },
12// Output:
13// Charlie can jump
14// Charlie can run
15// Charlie can walk

Functions in JavaScript are versatile and allow for the encapsulation and reusability of code. Understanding how to define and invoke functions, manage scope, and utilize closures is crucial for effective JavaScript programming.

Working with Arrays and Objects

Introduction to Arrays and Objects

Arrays and objects are fundamental data structures in JavaScript, allowing you to store and manage data in more complex ways.

Arrays are used to store ordered collections of values. They can hold multiple values of different types and provide a set of methods to manipulate these values.

1let fruits = ["Apple", "Banana", "Cherry"];
2console.log(fruits.length); // Output: 3

Objects represent collections of key-value pairs, where each key (a string or symbol) maps to a value of any type. Objects are used to store structured data and functionalities.

1let person = {
2  name: "Dave",
3  age: 30,
4  greet: function() {
5    console.log(`Hello, my name is ${}!`);
6  },
8person.greet(); // Output: Hello, my name is Dave!

Methods for Manipulation

Both arrays and objects come with a suite of built-in methods for manipulating data.

Array Methods:

  • .push() to add elements to the end,
  • .pop() to remove the last element,
  • .shift() to remove the first element,
  • .unshift() to add elements to the beginning,
  • .map(), .filter(), and .reduce() for transforming and combining elements.

Object Methods:

  • Object.keys(obj) to get an array of a given object's property names,
  • Object.values(obj) to get an array of a given object's own enumerable property values,
  • Object.entries(obj) to get an array of a given object's own enumerable string-keyed property [key, value] pairs.

Iteration Techniques

Iterating over arrays and objects is a common task in JavaScript. Arrays can be iterated using loops (for, for-of) and array methods like .forEach().

1fruits.forEach((fruit, index) => {
2  console.log(`${index + 1}: ${fruit}`);

For objects, you can iterate over their properties using loops, or by using Object.keys(), Object.values(), and Object.entries() along with array iteration methods.

1for (let key in person) {
2  console.log(`${key}: ${person[key]}`);

Working with arrays and objects is crucial for managing and organizing data in JavaScript applications. By mastering their properties and methods, you can efficiently manipulate data structures to suit your application's needs.

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DOM Manipulation and Events 

Document Object Model (DOM) Basics

The Document Object Model (DOM) is a programming interface for web documents. It represents the page so that programs can change the document structure, style, and content. The DOM represents the document as nodes and objects; this way, programming languages can interact with the page.

A web page is documented in the HTML format. Once the page is loaded in the browser, it becomes a document object. The DOM of a document can be modified with a scripting language such as JavaScript.

Selecting and Modifying Elements

To manipulate the DOM with JavaScript, you first need to select the element(s) you want to work with. The most common methods to select elements from the DOM are:

  • document.getElementById(id): Selects an element by its ID.
  • document.querySelector(selector): Uses CSS selectors to find the first matching element.
  • document.querySelectorAll(selector): Uses CSS selectors to find all matching elements.

Once you've selected the element(s), you can modify them by changing their properties, attributes, and styles, or by attaching event listeners to them.

Example of Modifying an Element:

1const title = document.getElementById('page-title');
2title.textContent = 'New Page Title'; // Changes the text of the title = 'red'; // Changes the color of the title text

Event Handling Basics

Events are actions that happen in the system you're programming for; the system tells you about these actions so you can respond to them in some way if desired. For example, if the user clicks a button on a webpage, you might want to respond to this action by displaying a message.

JavaScript allows you to listen for events on elements, using methods like addEventListener.

Example of Adding an Event Listener:

1const button = document.querySelector('button');
2button.addEventListener('click', () => {
3  alert('Button was clicked!');

Manipulating the DOM and handling events are fundamental for creating interactive web pages. With these tools, developers can create dynamic content that responds to user actions.

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Asynchronous JavaScript

Callback Functions

A callback function is a function passed into another function as an argument, which is then invoked inside the outer function to complete some kind of routine or action.

However, managing multiple callbacks can lead to complex code structures known as "callback hell," especially when operations depend on the result of previous ones.


Promises are used to handle asynchronous operations in JavaScript. They represent a value that may be available now, in the future, or never.

A promise can be in one of three states:

  • Pending: The initial state; the operation has not completed yet.
  • Fulfilled: The operation completed successfully.
  • Rejected: The operation failed.

1const getData = new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
2  // Asynchronous operation here
3  const data = {
4    id: 1,
5    message: 'Hello, Promise!'
6  };
7  resolve(data); // on success
8  // reject('Failure reason'); // on error
11getData.then(data => console.log(data))
12       .catch(error => console.error(error));

async/await Syntax and Usage

The async and await keywords enable asynchronous, promise-based behavior to be written in a cleaner style, avoiding the complexity of managing promises and their callbacks.

An async function returns a promise. The await keyword is used in async functions to ensure that all asynchronous operations are completed before proceeding with the execution of the next line of code.

1async function fetchData() {
2  try {
3    const response = await fetch('');
4    const data = await response.json();
5    console.log(data);
6  } catch (error) {
7    console.error('Error fetching data:', error);
8  }

Asynchronous JavaScript, including callbacks, promises, and async/await, are powerful tools for performing tasks without blocking the main thread, improving the performance and user experience of web applications.

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JavaScript Best Practices 

Adhering to best practices in JavaScript development not only helps in writing clean and readable code but also enhances performance and maintainability.

Code Organization

Organize your code logically into functions, modules, or classes. Use comments sparingly to explain the "why" behind specific implementations, not the "what". Keep your functions focused on a single task, making them easier to read and maintain.

Performance Optimization Tips

  • Minimize DOM Access: Accessing the DOM can be expensive; minimize how often you do it by caching references to DOM elements.
  • Use Event Delegation: Instead of attaching event listeners to each element individually, use event delegation to add a single listener to a parent element.
  • Avoid Global Variables: Global variables can lead to code conflicts and memory leaks. Encapsulate your code within functions or modules to avoid pollution of the global namespace.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Mutating State Unexpectedly: Always be clear about when and why you're modifying the state of objects or arrays to prevent bugs.
  • Not Using === for Comparison: The == operator performs type coercion, which can lead to unexpected results. Use === for strict equality checks.
  • Ignoring Error Handling: Always handle potential errors in your code, especially in asynchronous operations. Use try/catch blocks with async/await and .catch() with promises.

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Conclusion and Further Resources 

We've covered the basic yet essential concepts of JavaScript that you'll encounter in everyday development. From understanding the syntax and operators, to diving into functions, scope, arrays, objects, the DOM, events, and asynchronous programming, these fundamentals form the backbone of effective JavaScript coding.

Continuous learning and practice are key to mastering JavaScript. Explore further through documentation, tutorials, and community forums. Happy coding!

Read more resources Javascript concepts

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