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How to display text in JavaScript

Getting Started: Text Display in JavaScript

Imagine you're learning a new language and you want to say hello to someone. The first thing you might learn is how to say "hello". Similarly, when you're learning JavaScript, one of the first things you might want to do is display some text. In JavaScript, we usually do this with a command called console.log.

Think of the console as your computer's way of talking back to you. When you tell your computer to log something to the console, you're basically asking it to say something back to you. In this case, you're asking it to say whatever text you put inside the parentheses.

Here's what that might look like:

console.log("Hello, world!");

When you run this code, your computer will respond with: Hello, world!

Displaying Text in a Web Page

While console.log is a great way to get started with displaying text in JavaScript, it's not something users of your web page will see. To display text on a webpage, we have several options. Let's look at a couple of them.

Using document.write

The document.write function allows you to write directly to the HTML document. Here's how it's used:

document.write("Hello, world!");

When you run this code, "Hello, World!" will appear on your webpage.

Note: document.write is simple, but it's not commonly used in modern web development because it overwrites the entire document, and if used after the page has fully loaded, it could erase existing content.

Using innerText or textContent

These are properties of HTML elements that let you get or set the text inside the element. Here's how you might use them:

<p id="myParagraph"></p>
var myParagraph = document.getElementById("myParagraph");
myParagraph.innerText = "Hello, world!";

When you run this code, "Hello, World!" will appear inside the paragraph element on your webpage.

Note: While innerText and textContent can often be used interchangeably, there are subtle differences. innerText only returns visible text in a "rendered" form, while textContent returns the full text from all child nodes.

Using innerHTML

This property lets you get or set the HTML content inside an element. It's similar to innerText and textContent, but it also interprets any HTML tags you include:

var myParagraph = document.getElementById("myParagraph");
myParagraph.innerHTML = "Hello, <strong>world!</strong>";

When you run this code, "Hello, World!" will appear on your webpage, with "World!" bolded thanks to the <strong> tag.

Conclusion: The Power of Text Display in JavaScript

Think of JavaScript as a puppet master and HTML elements as the puppets. Displaying text with JavaScript is like giving voice to these puppets. Whether you're making them say "Hello, World!", or something more complex, you're breathing life into your webpage with each command.

Remember, the examples given here are just the tip of the iceberg. JavaScript provides a ton of ways to interact with web pages, displaying text being one of the most basic of them. As you continue your journey in programming, you'll find that these operations will become second nature to you.

So next time you're coding in JavaScript, remember the humble console.log, document.write, innerText, textContent, and innerHTML. They may not seem like much, but with them, you can say anything you want to the world. Happy coding!