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CoffeeScript vs Elm: What are the differences?

CoffeeScript: Unfancy JavaScript. CoffeeScript is a little language that compiles into JavaScript. Underneath that awkward Java-esque patina, JavaScript has always had a gorgeous heart. CoffeeScript is an attempt to expose the good parts of JavaScript in a simple way; Elm: A type inferred, functional reactive language that compiles to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Writing HTML apps is super easy with elm-lang/html. Not only does it render extremely fast, it also quietly guides you towards well-architected code.

CoffeeScript and Elm can be primarily classified as "Languages" tools.

"Easy to read" is the top reason why over 197 developers like CoffeeScript, while over 37 developers mention "Code stays clean" as the leading cause for choosing Elm.

CoffeeScript and Elm are both open source tools. It seems that CoffeeScript with 15.2K GitHub stars and 1.99K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Elm with 5.3K GitHub stars and 424 GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, CoffeeScript has a broader approval, being mentioned in 364 company stacks & 170 developers stacks; compared to Elm, which is listed in 27 company stacks and 35 developer stacks.

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Pros of CoffeeScript
Pros of Elm
  • 198
    Easy to read
  • 179
    Faster to write
  • 126
    Syntactic sugar
  • 104
  • 104
  • 73
  • 53
    Javascript the good parts
  • 48
    Open source
  • 44
  • 35
    "it's just javascript"
  • 16
    Compact code
  • 15
  • 13
  • 13
    Not Javascript
  • 2
    Does the same with less code
  • 1
    I'm jobs I'm software engineer
  • 43
    Code stays clean
  • 41
    Great type system
  • 39
    No Runtime Exceptions
  • 32
  • 27
    Easy to understand
  • 21
  • 21
    Type safety
  • 15
    JS fatigue
  • 11
  • 11
    Ecosystem agrees on one Application Architecture
  • 9
    Friendly compiler messages
  • 7
    Fast rendering
  • 7
    Welcoming community
  • 6
    If it compiles, it runs
  • 5
    Stable ecosystem
  • 4
    'Batteries included'
  • 2

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Cons of CoffeeScript
Cons of Elm
  • 2
    No ES6
  • 1
    Corner cases in syntax
  • 1
    Parentheses required in 0-ary function calls
  • 1
    Unclear what will be grouped to {…}
  • 2
    No typeclasses -> repitition (i.e. map has 130versions)
  • 2
    JS interoperability a bit more involved
  • 1
    Backwards compability breaks between releases
  • 1
    More code is required
  • 1
    Main developer enforces "the correct" style hard
  • 1
    JS interop can not be async
  • 1
    No communication with users

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What is CoffeeScript?

It adds syntactic sugar inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell in an effort to enhance JavaScript's brevity and readability. Specific additional features include list comprehension and de-structuring assignment.

What is Elm?

Writing HTML apps is super easy with elm-lang/html. Not only does it render extremely fast, it also quietly guides you towards well-architected code.

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What companies use CoffeeScript?
What companies use Elm?
See which teams inside your own company are using CoffeeScript or Elm.
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What tools integrate with Elm?

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Blog Posts

What are some alternatives to CoffeeScript and Elm?
JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript development. It's a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
Goals for ECMAScript 2015 include providing better support for large applications, library creation, and for use of ECMAScript as a compilation target for other languages. Some of its major enhancements include modules, class declarations, lexical block scoping, iterators and generators, promises for asynchronous programming, destructuring patterns, and proper tail calls.
Babel will turn your ES6+ code into ES5 friendly code, so you can start using it right now without waiting for browser support.
jQuery is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML.
See all alternatives