I wouldn’t recommend learning JavaScript; in my opinion, it’s one of the worst programming languages in wide use today. If you must do prototype design work for the web, a better choice would be Amber. It compiles to JavaScript and thus let’s you largely avoid JavaScript’s ugliness. The resulting application is pure HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which can be served by any common web server.

Amber is Smalltalk for the web. Smalltalk is a largely overlooked language that has a wonderful heritage and great advantages. It was a pioneering Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) language that deeply influenced many of the languages we use today, for example, Objective-C, Ruby, Python, Groovy, Scala. It embodies the purest concept of OOP as envisioned by Alan Kay and thus confers much needed simplicity and consistency to object-oriented development; this is something we don’t see in other OOP languages such as Java, Ruby, and C++.

The best reasons to use Amber (Smalltalk) are: 1) its super-clean syntax; and 2) its “live programming” environment. The simple syntax makes the language extremely easy to learn and to master. (When you’ve mastered your tools, you can work at your maximum effectiveness and efficiency.) The ability to do “live” coding makes the language highly productive, which is ideal for prototyping design ideas! This killer combination is unmatched by any other language (with the possible exception of Lisp).

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