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Editorial: Is JavaScript Always the Best Solution?

Lately, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the role of JavaScript in modern web pages and web apps. It all seems to have kicked off with an amusing (but not entirely untrue) article entitled How it feels to learn JavaScript in 2016 in which the author expresses his concern at the fragmented state of the JavaScript ecosystem and the amount of tooling necessary to start a JavaScript project today.

In the debate that followed, there was an interesting Twitter poll that caught my eye. It asked if in 2016, it’s OK to build a website that doesn’t work without JavaScript. Of the 4,157 people that replied, 42% (so 1,746 people) declared that it was. Woah!

As editor of SitePoint’s JavaScript channel you might expect me to be among those 42%. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I’m afraid I’m not. As my colleague Patrick recently pointed out, it all depends upon the context. Keeping an open mind as to the most accessible and most reliable method of solving a problem, will inevitably lead to the best solution. Here’s a small example to illustrate the point:

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