Later you may want to learn JavaScript. You should. For now you only need to know what it is.

A long time ago in Web terms Netscape made it possible to trigger automated things to happen on Web pages. Originally, it was called Mocha, LiveWire and LiveScript.  Then it was renamed to make it sound like it had something to do with Java even though it doesn't.

Originally JavaScript was quite limited. It went through a complicated history of conflicting development but is now starting to be fairly standard across all browsers. It allows you to change Web pages even after they have loaded (once called DHTML but not recently).  It can:

  • make things appear or disappear
  • make things move or change size
  • adapt Web pages to different screen sizes and shapes
  • make checks on data entered into forms on Web pages
  • create additional Web page features such as clocks, calendars and silly tricks with mouse cursors
  • get and manipulate data
  • much more

If you see parts of a page which changes in front of you then it is probably JavaScript (or it could be an animation).