• 13 Jul, 2024

Is Javascript based on C? Let's Find Out

Is Javascript based on C? Let's Find Out

Yes, JavaScript is based on C in terms of its syntax and some programming concepts. It shares a similar structure, making it easier for those familiar with C-based languages to pick up JavaScript. So, to answer the question, yes, JavaScript has its roots in C.


JavaScript implementation can be done in any other language but is not written in another programming language. Actually, no programming language is written in another language. Lots of different JavaScript implementations can be based on other programming languages. Specifically, most major JavaScript interpreters, either part of web browsers or standalone, are written in C or C++. The reason here is purely for performance. Still, the implementations can be written in Java, even JavaScript itself.     


A JavaScript-compliant interpreter can be written in a different language – for instance, Rhino, a Mozilla engine, is written in  Java  . However, the unique thing with JavaScript is the lack of a singular canonical interpreter like in PHP. JavaScript is a standard/dialect based on  ECMAScript  , which specifies how code and syntax should run. The other languages, such as C/C++, create the ability to run JavaScript, i.e., a run time environment. The runtime environment in C/C++ has codes that identify data called JavaScript and runs that data as if it is code – that is why programming languages such as JavaScript are called Interpreted languages.    


The  JavaScript  syntax gets its inspiration from Java and C++, so if you have worked with the two, you will have an easy time dealing with JavaScript. Nevertheless, a closer look at the inner parts of JavaScript shows that it is an interpreted dynamically typed language just like Ruby and Python. The majority of JavaScript implementations show behavior caused by pointers and byref parameter passing – this typically points towards the use of C or C++. You can see this when separating a multidimensional array in a loop using an intermediate array. If you are not familiar with byref passing and pointers of parameters, it will seem to behave strangely.    


Each time, you'll need to perform a:    

var help = new Array; else

It will overwrite the previous values that you've already stored elsewhere.

Is JavaScript similar to C?    

JavaScript and C share a somewhat similar syntax – this includes the clunky for statements and curly braces. Such features make JavaScript appear as an ordinary procedural language. However, the truth is JavaScript is more of a functional language with more similarities to Scheme or Lisp than with C. JavaScript has arrays rather than lists and objects rather than property lists. Besides, it has closures, and functions are first class. Furthermore, developers get  lambdas  without the need to balance all parents. So, how does JavaScript compare to C?    





It is a compiled language


It is interpreted; however, at times, it is compiled at runtime with a just-in-time (JIT) compiler


is statically typed


JavaScript is dynamically typed


Programmers must allocate as well as reclaim the blocks of memory


JavaScript automatically handles everything


The design of C allows it to work directly with the computer's memory via the power of pointers.


JavaScript doesn't show this power explicitly – it hides it.


C is highly used in applications requiring high performance, e.g., operating systems. Also, it's used for embedded computers.


JavaScript is embedded in web pages only; however, it is also extensively used in server applications developed via Node.js.


There is explicit control of threads in C


Users can split tasks into asynchronous functions called when data is ready; this allows them to juggle multiple jobs.


The JavaScript syntax is like C; however, the two can differ to create a more dynamic code. The JavaScript syntax borrows some features from Perl and Awk languages. And since other programming languages inspire JavaScript, here are some notable differences:    


  • The identifiers in JavaScript are case-sensitive, and keywords must be lowercase.  
  • Functions may be objects, and a function can hold other functions (are utilized as methods).  
  • Semi-colon is optional.  
  • Variables have dynamic types, and arrays are dynamic, as is the case in AWK.  

What is the Programming Language of JavaScript?    

JavaScript is a lightweight, object-oriented interpreted programming language featuring first-class functions. This scripting language is for Web pages, but it is also widely used in many non-browser environments. Contrary to popular opinion, JavaScript is not "Interpreted Java." However, it is a dynamic scripting language that supports prototype-based object construction. Its syntax is intentionally similar to C++ and Java, which reduces the number of new concepts needed to learn the language. Constructs such as if statements, while and for loops, and switch functions are the same in these languages. The primary JavaScript implementations are written in C or C++ to offer better performances. However, others, such as the Rhino, are written in Java, while other implementations are written in JavaScript. JavaScript is based on multiple languages but not a single programming language.    


  • JavaScript and C++/C: The popular engines that drive JavaScript are written in C++ – for instance, the V8 engine within  Google Chrome  and Node,  SpiderMonkey  for Mozilla products, and Chakra for Microsoft are compiled from a C++ codebase. It's worth noting that the JavaScript syntax is a derivative of C, but its semantics and design are of Scheme and Self-programming languages. Other implementations include Carakan, JavaScriptCore, and e Chakra.  
  • JavaScript and Java: There are notable similarities between Java and JavaScript. This occurs in the form of syntactic, naming, and standard library similarities. But in reality, Java and JavaScript are unrelated and have very different semantics.  

JavaScript is loosely interpreted, and that comes with implications including:    

  • The 64-bit floating-point numbers represent integers and floats  
  • Offers the ability to change the variable type freely  


Ideally, developers are at will to do many things while programming. Remember, JavaScript is a classless language; developers can simulate classes. While classes are absent, JavaScript does have objects that define it as being object-oriented.    


JavaScript is not written in any particular language, but it has a syntax similar to that of the C language. Developers describe JavaScript as a standard called ECMAScript, which ensures interoperability of web pages across the various web browsers. While ECMAScript is used chiefly for client-side scripting on the Web, it also has found significant use in creating applications and services using Node.js.    

While JavaScript is not written in any language, it can be implemented in any programming language just like any other programming language. For instance, V8, a JavaScript engine, is written in C++. Notice that JavaScript is named after Java and has most of its concepts borrowed from Java. But they are two distinct languages – the most noticeable difference is that Java is a compiled language while JavaScript is an interpreted programming language. JavaScript is designed to run on many browsers out of the box. Besides, JavaScript applications run on all devices, but mobile or desktop apps run on a target device only – Windows, Linux, iPhone, Mac OSX, or Android. This is not the case with Java, which requires additional plugins to run on web browsers. Also, both languages require a different runtime environment and have various libraries.    

With JavaScript, you, therefore, write cross-platform applications quickly. Platforms, including Node.js, let you run JavaScript server-side. That means developers can create entire web apps with both client-side and server-side logic developed in JavaScript. When using Node.js, it is possible to call C or C++ programs from it. Typically, Node.JS has libraries that can call C. there are several approaches to making JavaScript work with C, and one approach is writing a web service using Node.JS and then running it on your server.         
Also, you can run the C code in a process on your computer and invoke it via local HTTP requests.    

Programming Language Similar to JavaScript   


Though JavaScript is a unique language, it gets its inspiration from other languages, including Scheme, NewtonScript TypeScript , and  CoffeeScript . However, no single programming language is the same as JavaScript in all aspects. As earlier defined, JavaScript is an interpreted, lightweight, object-oriented language with a wide application in scripting web pages. Typically, when it comes to front-end development, JavaScript is a go-to programming language, though some alternatives exist. In a broader view, JavaScript can create all types of interactive elements of websites. Mainly, you can execute the following functions:    


  • Creating various online interactive platforms such as questionnaires and registration forms.  
  • Access HTML-based components and work with them without the need to refresh the page.  
  • Tracking users' actions on a website, e.g., scrolling, zooming, and clicking buttons  


One of the major advantages of Javascript is its full compatibility with existing browsers. Besides, it features a simple syntax and is easy to use for any purpose. Here are some JavaScript alternatives: CoffeeScript – it's transcompiled into JS; it improves the readability of JavaScript and makes the code simpler and shorter. Besides, it is used with Node.js, but it isn't a modification of JavaScript.    


TypeScript is another language inspired by JavaScript. Its function is to enhance JavaScript capabilities – backward compatibility. Any application written in TypeScript can other browsers when compiled to JS. Also, it is compatible with Node.js. Scheme – this is a language that influenced JavaScript design. You can see similarities in lexical scoping, first-class, nested, higher-order procedures, and closures/procedures rather than objects. Besides, they both feature one ubiquitous, robust data structure.    


Is C required to learn JavaScript?    

C is not a requirement in learning JavaScript. JavaScript is mainly termed as a scripting language, while C is a programming language. Both languages have excellent features that appeal to different classes of individuals. This is based on their ease of learning or applications. In general, JavaScript is much easier to learn and use than C. Though it may be clunky, its significant advantage is that it is flexible, i.e., it allows you to play around with the concept.   

So, if you intend to start programming, starting with JavaScript can be a good idea. But one language can offer general knowledge in an aspect where the other language offers more profound knowledge. For instance, if you are interested in web programming, it is advisable to start with JavaScript to provide deeper insights. In this aspect, C language could be better. With JavaScript, you can get started quickly, and it lets you see results immediately. Besides, you can ramp up highly complex concepts more fluidly.    

The advantage of C is that you can use it for many things, especially if you want to understand how computers work and its operation could be higher for desktop and web software needs. However, if you plan to be a professional programmer, starting with C can place you at a better point, giving you a deeper understanding of how programming and software work. C is a bit difficult to master if you are absolutely new to programming since it is much closer to a machine. So, starting with Python, Ruby, or C# is much more reasonable.    

The Use of JavaScript  

JavaScript is a powerful tool to develop modern web apps without reloading the page every time. This scripting language can power interactive forms, images, and carousels. Besides, it can be used with backend frameworks such as Node.js to power a web page. Commonly, developers use JavaScript to dynamically modify CSS and HTML to update a user interface by the  DOM API .     


Here are JavaScript uses:    


Front End Web Development    

JavaScript allows developers to add dynamic features, e.g., changing texts, content, and images, which resize themselves to a website. Typical changes to make the front-end using JavaScript include:    


  • Displaying information with a click of a button  
  • To show various tabs on a website  
  • Creating a dropdown menu that activates with the click of a button  
  • Allowing zooming in and out of an image  
  • Animation display on a website  

Back End Web Development    

JavaScript alongside Node.js is powerful for server-side programming, i.e., to make a website work on a web server. For example, the two can be used to save form data to a database.    


Mobile Apps    

JavaScript can make apps for non-web contexts; thus, it is a powerful tool for creating mobile applications. For instance,  React Native  is the most used JavaScript framework for creating mobile applications. It helps build mobile applications for different operating systems.    


Game Development    

Online games are built using JavaScript, although they are a less powerful compared to  unity's game development  . There are various frameworks and libraries to create 2D and 3D games, and with engines such as Pixi.js and PhysicsJS, developers can build web games.    


Server Applications    

JavaScript can generate content as well as handle HTTP requests. Also, it can run on servers via Node.js. Node.js offers an environment with the necessary tools for JavaScript to run on servers.    


With JavaScript, you can create presentations as a website, thanks to libraries such as RevealJs and BespokeJs, which can build a web-based slide deck. Reveal.js, with the help of HTML, can create an interactive and beautiful slide deck.    


JavaScript examples  

Practicing JavaScript examples is the best way to learn JavaScript. Whether you are getting started or you are a pro, there are always new challenges that will require you to look at various examples to see how they function. It's true; JavaScript is a scripting language with powerful tools – you can use it to create multiple powerful platforms. Such platforms are incredibly engaging. Let's look at some JavaScript examples:    




JavaScript is a scripting/programming language with a robust set of tools that allow the implementation of complex features on web pages. Ideally, you can use JavaScript to do more than just display static information. It can create interactive maps, create timely updates, animated  2D/3D graphics , etc. On the other hand, C is a popular general-purpose programming language. It is known for its flexibility and simplicity. It is structure and machine-independent and has extensive application in writing operating systems such as Windows, Applications, and complex programs such as Git, Python interpreter, Oracle database, etc.

The common notion among programmers is that if you understand C, then it will be easier for you to use any other programming language. That means that C most other programming languages, including JavaScript, use the concept of C language. However, to use C, you must have a background in knowledge in computer memory mechanisms.  
JavaScript is a standard formally known as ECMAScript. This standard can be implemented in almost any programming language, just like other standards. JavaScript has several interpreters written in different languages, including C, JavaScript itself, and C++. So, most JavaScript implementations show behavior resulting from using pointers and byref parameter passing, primarily due to C or C++.

Because these languages intertwine, a look at one language points to another language. That means that some features always overlap. So, their uses may mesh in some aspects but not all of them. While some JavaScript implementations are written in C, the two languages are tailored to handle different roles. C language offers a more concrete understanding of programming. Anyone aspiring to be a professional programmer might find it suitable. On the other hand, JavaScript is much easier to grasp, making it ideal for beginners. Besides, it's great for web development, and when used together with HTML and CSS, it can create powerful web server applications.

Related:  Is Java good for machine learning? Let's Find Out  

Related Is Unity a programming language?  

Aiden Blenkiron

Hello, I'm Aiden Blenkiron, a Tech blog writer with a Computer Science Degree from Stanford University. Since 2019, I've been sharing insights on Tech innovations and I have contributed along to major brands like TechInsider and WiredTech. My aim is to simplify complex concepts and keep you updated in the dynamic Tech landscape.