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JavaScript Syntax: A Beginner’s Guide

When learning a programming language like JavaScript, it's essential to understand its syntax—the rules for structuring code. By mastering JavaScript syntax, you can effectively communicate your instructions to the computer and create functional programs. In this beginner's guide, we'll explore the fundamental aspects of JavaScript syntax and lay a solid foundation for your coding journey.
Daniel Zacharias

Code Power Team

November 2, 2023

Why JavaScript?

JavaScript is an open-source language known for its versatility and compatibility with HTML and CSS. It’s lightweight and dynamic, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. JavaScript supports prototype-based object orientation, first-class functions, and dynamic typing, facilitated by its built-in application programming interfaces (APIs). With JavaScript, you can create interactive web pages, implement features like sliders and menus, and even develop desktop applications using frameworks like Electron.

Basics of JavaScript Syntax

JavaScript syntax shares similarities with other programming languages. It comprises a set of rules that govern the correct arrangement of symbols and keywords. By following these rules and structuring statements and expressions properly, you can achieve the desired functionality in your code.

Character Set

JavaScript relies on the Unicode character set, which includes a vast range of characters, such as letters, punctuation marks, and symbols from various languages. This comprehensive character set allows you to work with diverse textual elements in your code.

Values

In JavaScript, data is represented by values. There are two types of values in JavaScript:

Literals: These are fixed values that directly represent data. Literals can be numbers, strings (enclosed in quotes), or boolean values (true or false).

Variables: Variables serve as containers for storing and manipulating dynamic data. You can create variables using keywords like “var,” “let,” or “const” and assign them values. Variables can hold numbers, strings, objects, and other data types.

Operators

Operators are symbols or keywords used to perform operations on variables and values. JavaScript includes arithmetic operators (+, -, *, /) for mathematical computations and the assignment operator (=) to assign values to variables. Additionally, JavaScript provides comparison operators, logical operators, and other specialized operators for specific tasks.

Expressions

Expressions in JavaScript are combinations of values, variables, operators, and function calls. They represent complete code statements and are evaluated to produce a value. For example, the expression 3 * 4 evaluates to 12. You can use expressions to evaluate conditions, perform calculations, and generate new values within your code.

Keywords and Identifiers

JavaScript has reserved keywords that have predefined meanings and cannot be used as identifiers (variable names or function names). Examples of keywords include “for,” “if,” “while,” and “function.” Identifiers, on the other hand, are names used to identify variables, functions, objects, and labels in your code. Identifiers are case-sensitive and can consist of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), digits, underscores, and the dollar sign ($). It’s important to choose descriptive and meaningful names for better code readability and maintainability.

Comments

Comments are sections of code that are not executed by the JavaScript engine. They are used for adding explanatory notes or disabling specific code temporarily. JavaScript supports two types of comments: single-line comments (starting with //) and multi-line comments (enclosed between /* and */). Comments are useful for documenting your code and improving its understandability for yourself and other developers.

Case Sensitivity

JavaScript is a case-sensitive language, meaning it distinguishes between uppercase and lowercase letters. For example, “let” and “Let” are treated as separate identifiers, and “IF” or “if” have different meanings. It’s crucial to use consistent casing when referencing or declaring variables, functions, or keywords to avoid errors and ensure code functionality.

Camel Case

Camel case is a naming convention used in JavaScript for identifiers (variable names, function names, etc.). It involves combining multiple words without spaces, where the first word is in lowercase and subsequent words start with an uppercase letter. For example, “calculateTotalAmount” and “myVariableName” are valid camel case identifiers commonly used in JavaScript coding practices.

Integrating JavaScript with HTML

To incorporate JavaScript code into an HTML web page, you need to include it within <script> tags. Place the <script> opening tag where you want the code to start, write your JavaScript code, and close it with the </script> closing tag. Everything between these tags forms a functional unit of JavaScript code within the HTML document.

JavaScript Syntax: It’s a breeze!

JavaScript syntax may seem daunting at first, but with practice, it becomes more comfortable to work with. Understanding the fundamental aspects of JavaScript syntax, such as values, operators, expressions, keywords, and identifiers, allows a web developer to write efficient and functional code. Remember to be mindful of case sensitivity and choose appropriate names for better code organization. By incorporating JavaScript into HTML, you can create dynamic and interactive web pages. So, keep coding and enjoy the journey!

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