JavaScript vs. ReactJS: Choosing your first programming language to learn

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Choosing your first programming language is crucial for beginners in the coding world. JavaScript and ReactJS, for example, are popular options, each with unique strengths.

JavaScript is a versatile language, perfect for building interactive web applications, while ReactJS specializes in creating efficient and reusable user interfaces.

If you’re torn with the choice between React and JavaScript for your first programming language, this article aims to assist you in making an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs.

Basics of JavaScript and ReactJS

JavaScript and ReactJS have different usages in web development. JavaScript is used for front-end web development and server-side programming, especially with technologies like Node.js.

In contrast, ReactJS is a library designed for front-end development to simplify the building user interface process. It focuses on interactive and dynamic web applications.

JavaScript vs. ReactJS features

JavaScript is widely used for its key features. It excels in asynchronous programming, making it suitable for quick prototyping, web application development and task automation. JavaScript uses non-blocking techniques like callbacks, Promises and async/await to handle asynchronous operations without blocking the main thread.

JavaScript streamlines Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation, enabling developers to change HTML document structures based on user input. Its dynamic typing system, where variable types are set at runtime, offers flexibility and speeds up coding. JavaScript’s extensibility grows through third-party libraries and frameworks such as Angular and ReactJS, enhancing its capabilities and simplifying complex application development.

Meanwhile, ReactJS is a popular choice among web frameworks, as shown in the Stackoverflow 2023 survey. It offers significant advantages, such as a component-based approach that simplifies the creation of small, reusable code components, allowing easy modifications without major code changes.

ReactJS is known for its declarative approach, where developers describe the application’s state and user interface, letting ReactJS handle the implementation. It also includes one-way data binding, ensuring that changes in parent components automatically update child components.

Moreover, ReactJS’s virtual DOM boosts efficiency by updating only the essential parts of the real DOM when a component’s state changes.


When it comes to their respective ecosystems, ReactJS and JavaScript offer different scopes. ReactJS boasts a substantial collection of third-party libraries and frameworks designed to enhance its functionalities.

In contrast, JavaScript has a vast and diverse ecosystem, with thousands of libraries and frameworks, including popular options like Vue and Angular. Notably, many of these libraries and frameworks developed for JavaScript can be applied across various ecosystems, contributing to its widespread utility.


ReactJS has its limitations. It does not work well with older web browsers, mainly supporting modern ones. If you want to use it for full-stack applications, you can, but it is primarily for front-end tasks. Learning ReactJS can be a bit tough, especially if you are new to programming.

JavaScript is a widely used programming language, with over 63 percent of users, according to Statista. However, it has its downsides.

Writing code from scratch in plain JavaScript can be time-consuming, making it less ideal for large applications. Additionally, its single-threaded nature, handling one operation at a time, may not be suitable for CPU-intensive tasks.

In conclusion, choosing JavaScript and ReactJS as your first programming language is significant, as each offers unique strengths that cater to specific aspects of web development.