One of the most common questions about programming is what language should be used. I think that at this point in time the answer is clearly JavaScript. The reason is simple: it's everywhere a browser is, and it is powerful enough to be way more than a toy.

How do I get started with JavaScript?

Press F12 on this browser window. Or Hamburger Menu→More Tools…→Developer Tools→Console.

How to open the developer Tools

Now you should see something like the following image, and do note which "tab" is selected, and if different, click on the correct one!

Console

Your first program

Let's tell the computer to write out your name. Here's how I did it for mine, type next to the > something like

console.log("Sklivvz is a nice person")

and press enter. Result? The computer knows how to treat me right.

I am a nice person

Programmers write… programs. A program is a set of lines of code executed in sequence. We can either type these instructions in sequence, or we can build a list of instructions and execute them all at once. Try typing this

function program() {
    console.log("Sklivvz is a nice person")
    console.log("And this is a second line")
}

As you can see, nothing is printed when you press Enter, just undefined. The computer has stored your program but is waiting for your command to execute it. In order to do so, use the following command:

program()

My first program

Next steps

Hopefully this piqued your interest! If you want to know more and learn more commands to give to your computer you can head off to javascript.com where there is a nice tutorial.

I also am publishing a series of beginners posts, starting with variables here.

Have fun!


A software engineer & Stack Overflow alumnus in London. I write about software development, coding, architecture and team leadership. I also speak at conferences worldwide.

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