Skip to content

TypeScript vs. JavaScript: Which to Use for Web Scraping?

JavaScript has been the backbone of web development for over two decades. But in recent years, TypeScript has emerged as a popular alternative – especially for large, complex web projects involving multiple developers.

So which one should you use for web scraping? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll compare TypeScript and JavaScript to help you decide.

A Quick Intro to TypeScript and JavaScript

Let‘s start with a quick refresher on what each language is and does:

JavaScript is a dynamically typed, interpreted programming language. It was created in 1995 to add interactivity and dynamic behavior to websites. JS runs natively in web browsers and is also commonly used for server-side development.

TypeScript is an open-source typed superset of JavaScript developed by Microsoft. It compiles down to plain JavaScript but adds optional static typing and other features like interfaces and generics. The TypeScript project started in 2012 when JavaScript‘s popularity was soaring.

So in summary:

  • JavaScript is dynamically typed while TypeScript is statically typed
  • JS runs natively in browsers while TS must be compiled to JS
  • TS is a superset – it extends JS with new features like typing

This key difference in typing is what distinguishes the two languages and makes TypeScript more suitable for large scale development.

Static vs Dynamic Typing

The choice between static and dynamic typing has major implications for the development process.

With static typing like TypeScript, variables have a strict type (like number or string) defined at compile time. The compiler will catch any mismatches and throw errors. This prevents lots of bugs and makes code easier to read and maintain.

Dynamic typing like JavaScript determines variable types at runtime. You can assign anything to a variable and the compiler won‘t complain. This flexibility comes at the cost of more bugs and unintended behavior.

TypeScript was created to bring the benefits of static typing to JavaScript. Catching errors during compilation rather than after deployment saves tons of time and headaches.

Pros and Cons of Using TypeScript for Web Scraping

Now let‘s focus specifically on the pros and cons of using TypeScript versus JavaScript for web scraping projects:

Pros of TypeScript

  • Catch Errors Early – TypeScript catches many bugs during compilation that would only show up at runtime in JavaScript. This is hugely beneficial for scraping projects where bugs can break crawlers.

  • Improved Readability – Type annotations make TypeScript code more readable and maintainable for large scraping projects with multiple contributors.

  • Scalability – Type safety and explicit types make TypeScript very scalable for big scraping projects with lots of interdependent components.

  • Reliability – The compile-time checks of TypeScript make it more reliable than JavaScript with fewer runtime errors. Reliability is critical for web scrapers.

  • Development Tools – TS has great IDE support and editor features like autocompletion and inline documentation thanks to static typing.

Cons of TypeScript

  • Learning Curve – Developing in TypeScript has a steeper learning curve than JavaScript because of its static type system.

  • Compilation Step – The TS compiler introduces an extra step to generate JS code that will run in the browser. This can slow down development, although optimizations like incremental compilation help.

  • Less Flexibility – For small scraping projects where flexibility is more important than robustness, TypeScript‘s static typing can feel restrictive compared to dynamic JS.

Pros of JavaScript

  • Simplicity – No complicated type system to learn. JS is an easy language to get started with for beginner web scrapers.

  • Native Browser Runtime – JS runs natively in the browser rather than needing compilation to JS like TypeScript.

  • Dynamic Flexibility – The dynamic nature of JS makes it easy to quickly build and iterate on scrapers.

  • Large Ecosystem – JavaScript has a massive community and ecosystem of frameworks and libraries to aid web scraping development.

Cons of JavaScript

  • Less Scalable – JavaScript is less suited for large web scraping projects because of difficulty maintaining huge, dynamic codebases.

  • Runtime Errors – JS‘ lack of compile-time checks leads to bugs creeping into production scrapers and causing runtime crashes.

  • Readability Issues – Dynamic typing can make JS code harder to understand at a glance without explicit types everywhere.

TypeScript vs JavaScript By Example

Let‘s compare some code snippets in JavaScript and TypeScript to demonstrate their differences:

// JavaScript

function addNumbers(x, y) {
  return x + y; 

let result = addNumbers("5", 10); 
console.log(result); // "510" 

This JS code has a clear issue – we‘re passing a string instead of a number. But the JS compiler doesn‘t complain and we end up with an incorrect concatenation result.

Now let‘s look at the same logic in TypeScript:

// TypeScript 

function addNumbers(x: number, y: number): number {
  return x + y;

let result = addNumbers("5", 10);
//       ^^^^ <-- Compilation error!

TypeScript throws a compile-time error that we passed a string instead of a number. This prevents the bug from ever reaching production.

This demonstrates how TypeScript‘s static types catch a whole class of errors that slip through the cracks in plain JavaScript.

Developing Web Scrapers in TypeScript and JavaScript

Now that we‘ve compared the languages, let‘s walk through actually building a simple web scraper in each one.

We‘ll extract data from an example page using the Axios and Cheerio libraries:

// scraper.js

const axios = require("axios");
const cheerio = require("cheerio");

async function scrapePage() {

  const resp = await axios.get("");

  const $ = cheerio.load(;
  const h1Text = $("h1").text();

  console.log(`Page H1 is: ${h1Text}`);



This basic scraper works fine in JavaScript. But if we try to convert it to TypeScript, problems arise:

// scraper.ts 

const axios = require("axios");

const cheerio = require("cheerio"); 

async function scrapePage() {

  const resp = await axios.get("");

  const $ = cheerio.load(;
                   //    ~~~~~~~ error!

  const h1Text = $("h1").text(); 
  //     ^ error!

  console.log(`Page H1 is: ${h1Text}`);



The TypeScript compiler throws errors on the and cheerio $ lines because the types are unknown.

To fix this, we need to:

  1. Install the necessary type declaration files for our libraries using npm i -D @types/node @types/cheerio

  2. Add type annotations:

// Fixed scraper.ts

import axios from "axios";
import * as cheerio from "cheerio";

interface Response {
  data: string;

async function scrapePage() {

  const resp: Response = await axios.get("");

  const $ = cheerio.load(;

  const h1Text: string = $("h1").text();

  console.log(`Page H1 is: ${h1Text}`);



With these additions, TypeScript properly understands the types in use and the scraper compiles!

This shows how TypeScript requires a bit more up-front work to correctly model the code. But we get type safety and better tooling support in return.

Which JavaScript Libraries Work Best with TypeScript?

Most popular JavaScript libraries play nicely with TypeScript. Many include definition files that let TypeScript properly understand the library APIs and give you great autocompletion and documentation.

Some great options for TypeScript web scraping projects include:

  • axios – The Axios HTTP client library has excellent TS support with built-in type definitions.

  • cheerio – For parsing HTML, the Cheerio library works seamlessly with TypeScript.

  • puppeteer – The Puppeteer browser automation tool has great TS integration and can power robust crawlers.

  • request – The request library has type definition files available for making requests from Node.js.

  • x-ray – This scraping framework has built-in TypeScript definitions to allow writing scrapers in TS.

So most popular JavaScript scraping libraries will work smoothly with TypeScript after some minimal configuration.

When Should You Use JavaScript vs TypeScript for Web Scraping?

So when should you choose plain JavaScript or TypeScript for your web scraping project? Here are some general guidelines:

Use JavaScript For:

  • Simple, quick scrapers where flexibility is more important than robustness
  • Prototyping and experimenting with scraping strategies
  • Learning web scraping for the first time as a beginner

Use TypeScript For:

  • Large, complex scraping projects with many interdependent components
  • Scrapers that will be maintained long-term by multiple developers
  • Mission-critical scrapers where reliability is essential
  • Companies with standardized TypeScript codebase conventions

Migrating a JavaScript Project to TypeScript

If you have an existing JavaScript web scraping project, it‘s relatively straightforward to migrate to TypeScript for better long-term maintainability.

Here are some tips:

  • Add a tsconfig.json file to configure TypeScript in the project
  • Rename .js files to .ts – many will work with no other changes
  • Add type annotations gradually as the compiler reports any errors
  • Install @types packages for any libraries without built-in types
  • Use tsc --watch to continually compile as you migrate pieces

Going step-by-step and letting the compiler guide you makes migrating to TypeScript manageable. The benefits are well worth the effort for large web scraping codebases.

Developers Weigh In: JavaScript vs TypeScript

The JavaScript versus TypeScript debate is active among working developers. Let‘s hear some perspectives:

"I prefer TypeScript for large projects because of the safety nets it provides. The overhead is worth it to catch bugs early." – Mark Erikson, Senior Engineer at Mosaic

"JavaScript may be simpler at first, but it allows too many unintended errors as an application grows. I choose TypeScript for maintainability." – Cassidy Williams, Developer Advocate at Codecademy

"TypeScript is fantastic until you step outside its comfort zone. Working extensively with APIs, I still prefer plain JavaScript for flexibility." – Michel Weststrate, Author of MobX

"TypeScript absolutely improves collaboration in large teams. Having explicit types cuts down on basic miscommunications that waste time." – Sara Vieira, Developer Advocate at YLD

The consensus seems to be that TypeScript excels at scaling, maintaining, and collaborating on complex web scraping projects. But for some specialized use cases, plain JS still rules.

The Growth of TypeScript

While JavaScript remains the dominant language of the web, TypeScript is rapidly gaining adherents:

  • TypeScript‘s growth has doubled year-over-year since its inception.

  • It‘s now the 9th most used language overall according to the 2024 StackOverflow developer survey.

  • On GitHub, TS is the 4th most used language and continues gaining on stalwarts like Python and Java.

As web applications grow ever more complex, TypeScript delivers the reliability and scalability required. Its future looks exceedingly bright.

Will TypeScript Eventually Replace JavaScript?

Given its meteoric rise, could TypeScript one day overtake JavaScript completely? Probably not – here are some reasons why:

  • TypeScript still ultimately depends on JavaScript at runtime after compilation.

  • JavaScript is baked into web browsers, making it irreplaceable for front-end development.

  • JS will likely remain simpler and more beginner-friendly for basic scripts and automation.

  • TypeScript itself still lacks some adoption among certain frameworks like Ember.js.

  • Not every developer is convinced typing is worth the tradeoff in flexibility.

Instead of replacement, the future is more likely to be coexistence: JavaScript for in-browser functionality and simple scripts; TypeScript for complex, scalable web applications and tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let‘s finish off with answers to some FAQs about using TypeScript and JavaScript for web scraping:

Should I learn JavaScript or TypeScript first?

Learn JavaScript first, since understanding JS is a prerequisite for effectively using TypeScript. Learning JavaScript will give you the core web development skills that apply to both languages.

Is migrating to TypeScript worth it?

If your web scraping project has grown beyond a basic script, migrating to TypeScript is likely worth the effort. Your future self will thank you after refactoring or onboarding new developers onto a large JS codebase!

How difficult is migrating an existing JavaScript project to TypeScript?

The difficulty depends on the size and complexity of your web scraping tool. For smaller projects, migrating to TypeScript can be done in an afternoon. For mammoth scrapers, it‘s wise to go slow and steady. Let the compiler guide you!

Can you use TypeScript with frameworks like React, Vue, and Angular?

Definitely! Most major web frameworks play very nicely with TypeScript and even sometimes recommend it for enhanced tooling and stability. For example, Angular was designed with TypeScript in mind from the start.

Does TypeScript work for both front-end and back-end web development?

Yes! TypeScript works nicely on both the front-end (after compilation to JS) and on the back-end Node servers when building full-stack web scraping tools.


TypeScript or JavaScript? When it comes to web scraping, there‘s no universally right choice – it depends on your specific needs.

For large, complex projects or mission-critical scrapers, TypeScript‘s focus on reliability, scalability, and collaboration makes it the right tool for the job.

For quick experiments or learning to code, JavaScript may be preferable for its simplicity and flexibility.

The good news is that knowledge of JavaScript will let you hit the ground running with TypeScript. And migrating from JS to TS is straightforward when the time comes to add robustness as your web scraping skills advance.

Understanding the strengths and limitations of each language will help guide you to the best choice of TypeScript versus JavaScript for your next web scraping project.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *