When learning something new, there is a delicate balance of morale, focus, and feedback. Getting a development toolchain set up properly on a local machine is an unpredictable task. If a single library doesn’t install properly, you can find yourself debugging for hours. Even if you’re lucky enough to have things work the first time, you’re still going to have to learn a new set of tools and concepts to correctly build and execute your programs.
The quickest way to execute some code in any language, if you are ever overcome with the sudden, uncontrollable desire to assign something to a variable, is likely using your browser’s developer console.
The browser console is great for learning and playing around with small, disposable experiments. However, the coding experience is very transient. It can feel a bit like skipping stones on a lake. You throw a stone, appreciate the splashes it makes, and then that stone is gone. While throwing out a few functions and observing their results can be a great way to test one’s understanding, it can be a challenge to assemble something more structured. That’s why we’re also going to suggest using a tool like JS Bin.
At the early stages of learning a programming language, it is much more important to start writing and running code quickly rather than spending time and energy setting up a local development environment. To this end, we suggest using browser tools and a web-based code editor like JS Bin.