TypeScript vs JavaScript: A Modern Development Dilemma

In the ever-evolving ecosystem of web development, few languages have enjoyed the ubiquity and sustained dominance of JavaScript. Born in the mid-90s, JavaScript, initially perceived as a companion to Java, emerged as the foundational pillar of the web.

Flash forward a few decades, and we find ourselves amidst a curious debate.

The arrival of TypeScript in 2012—created by none other than Anders Hejlsberg, the mastermind behind C# — presents a twist in our JavaScript tale.

But why the sudden need for a new player in a field that one might argue was already well-settled?

As the size and complexity of web applications ballooned, developers started grappling with the very features (or lack thereof) that made JavaScript flexible. Enter TypeScript, designed to address the growing pains of large-scale application development by introducing static typing to the dynamically typed world of JavaScript.

Yet, with every innovation comes introspection, especially when it comes to TypeScript vs JavaScript.

Understanding TypeScript's Genesis

In the vast expanse of programming languages, each with its own unique quirks and features, it's rare for a language to emerge out of the sheer need to solve problems inherent in another.

Yet, TypeScript's inception was driven precisely by this motivation — a yearning to alleviate the frustrations haunting seasoned developers navigating the labyrinth of large-scale JavaScript projects. TypeScript supports things that JavaScript doesn't - making it a more intuitive language for traditional developers.

Why Does TypeScript Exist?

At its heart, JavaScript is a dynamic and loosely typed language, which means it's forgiving — often to a fault.

While this flexibility is a boon for rapid prototyping and scripting, it becomes a bane when projects scale. As JavaScript applications grew in ambition and complexity, the lack of type safety became a pressing concern.

Each line of code brought with it the potential for type-related errors, which often manifested long after the code was written, sometimes even escaping testing phases to crash in production. A simple change in one part of the application could cascade unforeseen issues elsewhere, turning maintenance into a daunting game of 'whack-a-mole'. TypeScript helps prevent this, reducing the problems with maintainability and refactoring.

The Bright Side: TypeScript's Promise

Problem-solving process

By introducing static typing, this TypeScript feature promised a world where developers could catch type-related errors during compile-time, long before the code ever ran. This shift from run-time error spotting to compile-time is akin to catching a potential leak in a ship while it's still in the dock, rather than when it's midway across the ocean.

But TypeScript's offerings weren't just limited to type-checking.

The language brought forth a slew of enhanced tooling, powered by the rich type of information it held. Developers now had access to more intelligent auto-completion, making code suggestions not just based on text matches but actual type compatibility.

Several IDEs integrated TypeScript, enabling better navigation and refactoring tools. In essence, TypeScript provides a safety net and makes it easier for code editors to predict your next move, especially when you want to refactor code.

TypeScript safety in having types

Predictability in Code

TypeScript code helps make code predictable for many developers.

With static typing for the scripting language, developers gain the confidence to know that a variable or function will behave as expected, owing to its strict type definition. This sense of security reduces the cognitive overhead while coding.

Advanced Features for Robustness

TypeScript introduces a set of advanced features, including interfaces, generics, and decorators, which are more than just additional syntax. They represent a new way of thinking about and writing code.

One of the key features of TypeScript is the support for interfaces. This allows developers to specify the structure of data, which helps in maintaining consistency across different parts of an application.

Generics, a concept borrowed from languages like C# and Java, provide developers with the ability to create components that can operate on multiple types instead of just one. This increases the flexibility and reusability of the code.

Decorators, on the other hand, enable metaprogramming. This means developers can write code that can modify its own structures, leading to more dynamic and adaptable code.

These features collectively contribute to making the code more robust and scalable.

TypeScript enhances JavaScript by making it more powerful and intuitive to use with Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).

The Flip Side: Challenges with TypeScript

The Steep Learning Curve

For developers coming from a dynamically typed language background, TypeScript's addition to the scripting language can feel daunting. Introducing types means not just changing the syntax but also the mindset.

The nuances of union types, type guards, and type inference require time and patience to grasp. While resources like TypeScript Deep Dive have emerged to aid this transition, it's undeniable that the initial climb is steep for many. However, for us, Typescript was a relief, as we come from a backend coding background where types were always a standard.

The Compilation Step

With JavaScript code, developers enjoyed the immediacy — write the code, refresh the browser, and see it in action.

TypeScript features introduce an intermediary step for the popular scripting language: compilation. While this process translates TypeScript's static types and ensures the code's type safety, it also adds overhead. There's now a wait time between writing and executing, and for large codebases, this can be noticeable. Additionally, the compilation might introduce its own set of bugs or unforeseen issues, adding an extra layer of potential troubleshooting.

TypeScript enhances JavaScript

The TypeScript vs. Plain JavaScript Code Debate

Few topics in the modern client-side development landscape incite as much passion, discussion, and sometimes downright contention, as the JavaScript and TypeScript debate. While both have their staunch advocates, the crux of the discussion revolves around a few key axes.

Necessity vs. Preference of JavaScript TypeScript

While not quite a stiff learning curve, one of the fundamental questions surrounding TypeScript's adoption as an add-on to the scripting language is whether its benefits are a genuine necessity for modern projects or merely a result of developer preference.

When TypeScript Shines

Larger projects, especially those with multiple team members, benefit significantly from TypeScript's type annotations. These annotations act as a self-documentation mechanism. For example, the function signature:

 function addUser(name: string, age: number): void {
   // Implementation

This immediately communicates expectations, preventing potential type-related bugs and simplifying the onboarding process for new team members.

A good example from our practice would be the usage of TypeScript in combination with Angular to create an online graphic design tool, this case demanded from us the usage of many engineering techniques and good objective coding with design patterns like strategy, decorator, factory and flyweight. Such challenges are much easier to solve in TypeScript than in JavaScript.

Enterprise-scale applications, which have intricate architectures and demand long-term maintainability, can harness TypeScript's advantages to ensure scalability and robustness.

Where Vanilla JavaScript Holds Ground

For small projects, quick prototypes, or scripts, the overhead of setting up TypeScript might outweigh its advantages. Vanilla JavaScript shines in its simplicity and immediacy. Overall, it does result in less code.

 function greet(name) {
   console.log(`Hello, ${name}!`);

The above function, written in plain JavaScript, is straightforward and does its job without any need for type annotations or a compilation step.

I remember when we used JS to create a web browser plugin integrated with the SaaS of our client. That plugin was meant to be a fast and easy implementation, without overcomplication, JS works amazingly for tasks like that.

Performance Implications

There's a popular myth that TypeScript code is somehow "faster" than its plain JavaScript counterpart in a web development project. Let's dissect this JavaScript TypeScript curiosity.

Compile-time vs. Runtime

One main advantage is that TypeScript supports compile-time checks.

These checks don't magically optimize the runtime performance of the application. Once TypeScript code is transpiled, it becomes plain JavaScript, with no inherent runtime speed advantage.

It's essential to understand that TypeScript's strength isn't about speeding up code execution but about catching errors earlier in the development cycle.

The Adaptation Phase

With TypeScript's growing popularity, we are witnessing another significant shift in the terrain in client side development, making JavaScript a more powerful and intuitive language.

Major companies and their projects, like Angular from Google, have adopted TypeScript as a primary language, signalling industry confidence in its benefits. Likewise, hiring trends show an increasing demand for TypeScript knowledge.

But it's not a universal shift.

Some developers argue that introducing TypeScript might alienate beginners or create unnecessary complexity in projects that don't require its robustness. Communities centered around libraries like Vue.js had heated debates before embracing TypeScript support, reflecting the broader industry's deliberative pace and internal development. However, TypeScript supports js libraries and is fully compatible.

Docker Deep Dive - free eBook

Docker like a pro!


TypeScript's Role in Modern Frameworks

Angular and TypeScript

When Google launched Angular 2, they made a resounding statement by selecting TypeScript as its primarysupport. This move wasn't just about leveraging TypeScript's static typing. It was a nod to the synergy between Angular's component-based architecture and TypeScript's class-based approach.

In Angular, creating a simple component looks like:

 import { Component } from '@angular/core';@Component({
   selector: 'app-root',
   template: `<h1>Hello {{name}}</h1>`
 export class AppComponent {
   name = 'Angular with TypeScript';

TypeScript support of type safety allows for robust tooling, improved refactoring, and an overall enhanced development experience in large projects.

We have posted multiple articles about Angular tooltips, dynamic forms and drag-and-drop functionality. Where we showcased how easy it is to implement those features.

React's JavaScript TypeScript Evolution

React, developed by Facebook, started its journey deeply rooted in JavaScript.

However, as the demand for type safety and scalability grew, the React community began drifting towards TypeScript. The type definitions provided by @types/react became indispensable for many projects, and TypeScript-specific patterns emerged:

 import React, { FC } from 'react';interface Props {
   message: string;
 }const HelloWorld: FC<Props> = ({ message }) => <div>{message}</div>;

This shift doesn't mean React abandoned JavaScript. Instead, it has made space for both, catering to the diverse needs of its vast community.

Plain JavaScript Code and Its Evergreen Nature

Certain JavaScript libraries, like jQuery, became popular before the TypeScript era and have stood the test of time without feeling the need to shift. jQuery, in particular, encapsulates the power and flexibility of Vanilla JavaScript, allowing developers to achieve complex tasks with simple, readable code:


Vanilla JavaScript's enduring appeal often lies in its straightforwardness. By not introducing an extra layer (like type-checking), developers can focus on writing code directly without a compilation step, which is invaluable in certain contexts.

Compatibility Concerns for TypeScript vs JavaScript

  • Mixing TypeScript and plain JavaScript code: Integrating TypeScript into a predominantly JavaScript codebase can be a double-edged sword. While it introduces type safety, it also mandates a careful approach to ensure seamless interoperability. Type assertions and the any type become bridges but should be used judiciously.
  • Third-party JS Libraries Pitfall: Depending on third-party libraries can introduce challenges. If a library is written in JavaScript and lacks TypeScript type definitions, developers might have to write custom type declarations or resort to less type-safe practices, potentially negating some of TypeScript's benefits.

The Developer's Perspective on TypeScript and JavaScript

TypeScript's Influence on Habits

Before TypeScript, the freedom of JavaScript allowed for flexibility through dynamic typing, but this often came at the cost of clarity. Now, developers find themselves more deliberate in their coding choices. Declaring types upfront might seem restrictive, but it ensures that everyone working on the codebase has a clear understanding from the get-go.

For instance, defining an API response in JavaScript might look like this:

 function getResponse(data) {
   return {
     name: data.name,
     age: data.age,
     address: data.address

In TypeScript, the intention is more explicit:

 interface ApiResponse {
   name: string;
   age: number;
   address: string;
 }function getResponse(data: ApiResponse): ApiResponse {
   return {
     name: data.name,
     age: data.age,
     address: data.address

With TypeScript, a developer can no longer look at a function and think solely about its logic. Now, the function's signature, its types, its return type – all these add layers of premeditation, ensuring that the function does precisely what it's intended to do, no more, no less.

Making JavaScript safer with TypeScript

A Tale of Two Scripts: Looking Ahead at Typescript and JavaScript

Today, TypeScript and JavaScript aren't necessarily adversaries but more like siblings, each bringing its flair to the table. TypeScript offers the safety and predictability that large-scale projects and intricate applications demand. In contrast, JavaScript's dynamic nature remains perfect for quick prototypes, scripts, or when simplicity is key.

Predicting the exact trajectory of technology is akin to herding cats – elusive and often surprising. However, if current trends hold, it's likely that neither TypeScript nor JavaScript will "vanquish" the other. Instead, they'll continue to coexist, each chosen for the unique advantages it offers.

To every developer reading this: It's easy to get swept up in the tides of popular opinion for TypeScript and JavaScript. Both have a large community that often overlaps.

But true innovation lies in understanding your tools and selecting them judiciously. Whether you're Team TypeScript, a JavaScript Jedi, or somewhere in between, remember that it's not about the trend but about the task. TypeScript adds additional features that are missing from JavaScript natively.

You can also learn more about Typescript Front end and Back end capabilities in our new article.


Ready to make your SaaS Scalable?

Fix most important issues within days from the kick-off

CONTACT USOr contact us directly at: [email protected]

Related posts