Microsoft: Learn JavaScript programming language for free with our new course

Programmers keen on building browser applications can take advantage of Microsoft's free JavaScript video course.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has followed up its Python for beginners tutorials on YouTube with a new series aimed at teaching novice programmers the widely used JavaScript programming language. 

Microsoft has launched a huge 51-part video course on YouTube to help programmers interested in building browser applications get their head around JavaScript and on the path to using relevant software development kits (SDKs) and JavaScript frameworks, such as Google's Angular. 

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The JavaScript video series for beginners follows a similar structure to the 44-part Python series Microsoft launched on YouTube in September last year, offering students lessons in the language and AI tools that can be used in the Azure cloud.

"Our goal is to help show you enough JavaScript to give you the background needed to begin working through quick starts and tutorials focused on frameworks and SDKs using JavaScript," Microsoft says on its GitHub page for the JavaScript course

At nearly a quarter of a century old, and hatched as a an extension to the Netscape Navigator browser, JavaScript has become the go-to language for building browser applications and increasingly native-like desktop and mobile applications with React Native and Electron. Developers also use the Node.js open-source JavaScript runtime environment for server-side code. 

The course takes learners through the process of deciding whether to run JavaScript in the browser for applications with a user interface or a server for web services and backend functionality. 

Microsoft's tutorials also assist participants setting up a development environment with Microsoft's popular Visual Studio Code editor, as well as installing Node.js as a JavaScript runtime. Users are guided through the steps to create a 'Hello World' app.   

Of course, Microsoft is using the course to illustrate to beginners what's available in Azure artificial-intelligence services, such as Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Bot Framework, which have JavaScript implementations that allow developers to incorporate artificial intelligence into their applications.

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Helpfully, Microsoft will familiarize aspiring JavaScript programmers with the extensive collection of packages and software libraries available on npm. 

Fairly early on in the series, students will learn about working with strings in JavaScript, data types, and using template literals to format strings, before moving on to creating and populating arrays and learning concepts like asynchronous programming and 'promises' in JavaScript. 

JavaScript is generally one of the top three most popular languages in various programming language indexes, including IEEE Spectrum and RedMonk.  

Microsoft's relatively young superset of JavaScript, TypeScript, has also become a popular option for developers building large front-end applications.

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