Not just for web applications.
Of course not. For the most part, computer languages rarely completely go away. There are still lots of enterprise applications written in very old computer languages like COBOL and FORTRAN, that are still running and paying the bills for many organizations around the world … as the old saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’.
There will always be a need to develop an application with a programming language that compiles natively specifically to a specific hardware platform, like a smartphone, a tablet, or particular PC architecture.
Applications like video games, which demand the most computer resources and power out of a computer’s CPU and RAM, will likely continue to be written in optimized computer languages like C and C++.
You typed an internet address into a web browser, and the browser would send your HTTP request to a remote web server and return a completely static HTML web page back to your browser for it to render onto your computer screen.
If you clicked on a hyperlink, your browser would send a completely new HTTP request to the web server and make a new full round trip to the web server and back to the client browser.
In fact, to this very day over 20 years later, this basic request/response architecture still happens to be the way web browsers continue to work.
I still remember when this happened … suddenly, web pages could be programmed to display cute little web animations.
THE AJAX REVOLUTION
Thanks to a new little software object component they developed called “Microsoft.XMLHTTP”, a web developer could send and receive XML data to a remote server OUTSIDE of a full round trip to a web server.
The web browser user no longer had to see that irritating page fresh where the computer screen had to completely redraw itself, every time you navigated to a different web page or make a new request to the web server.
With the advent of AJAX technology, suddenly a traditionally static HTML web page, felt a lot more like a responsive native desktop PC application like Microsoft Word and Excel … no irritating full page refreshes and the long delays that came with static HTML pages.
Google soon after, took the AJAX concept, and bet the company farm on building out complex and full features internet applications that behaved very much like traditional desktop applications.
Their GMail and Google Maps applications, could run completely inside a web browser, yet act and behave like desktop applications.
But better yet, those applications didn’t require the user manually install those applications … as long as their computer had a web browser, all they needed to do was enter the url address for Gmail and Google Maps, and they were instantly connected to those applications.
Better yet, any software updates to those applications were instantaneous the next time they visited those applications in the browser.
THE NODEJS REVOLUTION
This suddenly opened up many new benefits for developers.
Developers no longer had to do mental “context switching” between different computer languages.
THE ECMASCRIPT REVOLUTION
Version 1.0 can only include so many features and functionality. It’s only in future versions where a language can begin evolving and addressing additional needs of developers.
In the more recent versions of Ecmascript, major new features were introduced to the language spec.
THE TRANSPILER REVOLUTION
THE HYBRID APPLICATION REVOLUTION
For what purpose?
It’s certainly grown beyond it’s “toy language” beginnings that some programmers used to label it.