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Should you use TypeScript?

Written by Ugur Erdem Seyfi

TypeScript is a programming language that is a superset of JavaScript, meaning it supports all of the features of JavaScript but also includes additional features.

Just like JavaScript, TypeScript gets more and more attention as each day passes. Here is a google trends chart of the keyword TypeScript:


You can see an important increase in interest in TypeScript, particularly after 2022. So should you get into the TypeScript train as well?

In this essay, I will examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of using TypeScript in different contexts. The decision of whether or not to use TypeScript will depend on the specific needs of the project at hand. I will argue that, in most cases, those specific needs of a project will not justify the use of TypeScript, unless it is being used for a specific purpose, such as building a public library.

I will first examine and conclude whether some of the usual claims are presented for the sake of using TypeScript and then provide some reasons why one still might not want to use it.

Why use TypeScript?

1. Types reduce bugs

This is one of the most popular claims for why you should use TypeScript.

Types do not reduce all kinds of bugs. Types reduce type-bugs. Which is only a very small portion of actual bugs. If using statically typed language would be sufficient to reduce bugs, then we would see programs written in typed languages having fewer bugs in general. But we don’t. (see)

In many cases bugs seems to occur not because of just being typless, but more probably, a complex design combined with lack of a proper testing paradigm. If you want to be sure that your program won’t collapse during runtime, then it’s better for you to use a TDD (or a similar) approach combined with code reviews. This will reduce other kinds of bugs alongside with type-bugs.

But still, if type constraints will make it less likely for bugs to occur, what’s the harm of using a typed language anyways? Well, I agree that if you are working on a project and it has important parts, it might be a good idea to restrain certain functions by working on certain types of input and output. However, keep in mind that you can still implement a certain type of type constraining mechanism on JavaScript depending on your needs.

Here is a very simple example of a way to create functions that check whether the given inputs satisfy certain properties by Eric Elliot.

const fn = (fn, {required = []}) => (params = {}) => {
  const missing = required.filter(param => !(param in params));

  if (missing.length) {
    throw new Error(`${ fn.name }() Missing required parameter(s):
    ${ missing.join(', ') }`);

  return fn(params);

const createEmployee = fn(({
    name = '',
    hireDate = Date.now(),
    title = 'Worker Drone'
  } = {}) => ({
    name, hireDate, title
  { required: ['name'] }

console.log(createEmployee({ name: 'foo' })); // works
createEmployee(); // createEmployee() Missing required parameter(s): name

Principally you can extend fn or come up with similar solutions in any way to satisfy your needs. This might seem like an ugly solution at first but also keep in mind that it might be better than putting yourself in a position where you are forced to use types for the entire project when you only need them for a small part of it.

If you are OK with writing types for all the variables and objects in the project, then you can choose to go with TypeScript, but if only a small portion of your codebase requires such a tidiness, it might be better for you to just come up with a similar solution as mentioned above.

2. Types make your code more readable

I agree that sometimes types might make your code more readable in the sense that it is more explicit and it helps you to understand what the inputs and outputs for a function are supposed to be. Type constraints, in a way, also serve the paradigm called ‘Code as Documentation’ which frees you from the liability of writing documents.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that most of the time, types also add a syntax noise to your code, that is, you are often FORCED to put redundant stuff in the code.

Instead of just writing:

let a = 5;

you are now supposed to write:

let a : number = 5;

the latter, in any way, is not more readable compared to the first one. Because the first one is already simple enough.

You might say “Well, types do not improve readability when your types are simple, but when they are complex. In essence, types make your code more readable in projects that are at a larger scale.” I agree with this, but I also think that we should try to avoid such complexities as much as possible. That is, we should strive to build things in a so simple and explicit manner so that a type is not a requirement for us anyways.

3. Big Companies are doing it

Here is a common way of thinking among some people: If TypeScript were bad, it would not be used by big tech companies. big tech companies use TypeScript, therefore TypeScript is not bad.

This argument is wrong for two reasons:

Firstly, you are not a big company, which means your requirements are probably not the same as theirs.

Secondly, just Facebook is doing something does not mean it is good, this is a fallacy in thinking known as ‘appealing to authority’. There can be many cases where big companies won’t choose the better technology.

4. Dev Tools

The claim is as follows: Static Typing makes it possible to use great developer tools that help us to become more productive such as jumping to definitions, automatic refactoring, type inference, and suggestions, etc.

While it is true that Static Typing and Typescript has usually more dev tool supports, two questions are needed to be asked:

Are these tools make you more productive, or make you feel like you are more productive?

Are similar tools available for vanilla JavaScript as well? Is eslint + autocomplete plugins + ES6 inference-capable tools not sufficient for your workflow?

5. Types Provide a Good User Interface

I completely agree with the point that projects built using TypeScript often have a great user experience. This is because the effort and time spent building a typed interface pay off in the form of improved documentation and ease of understanding for developers who use the library. The use of TypeScript is especially beneficial when building public libraries that will be used by many people who may not have a deep understanding of the inner workings of the functions they are using. Overall, the use of TypeScript can greatly improve the user experience and is therefore a worthwhile investment when building libraries that will be widely used.

Cons of TypeScript

1. Typescript is not a Script

Typescript is not a script. A script is a piece of code that is executed directly by another program called an interpreter rather than the computer itself. In scripting languages, you do not need an additional step to compile the program to run it. For nodejs, you just write ‘node program.js’ where ‘program.js’ is the program you want to run. If you make a change to the program, then you don’t need to compile and run it again, you just run it. However, if you want to execute a TypeScript code, you first transpile it to JavaScript and then run it. This adds an additional step to your workflow, which I don’t like unless there is a HUGE benefit that justifies it.

2. Typed Javascript is still untyped

TypeScript code transpiles into JavaScript code nevertheless, which means, although the source code you use has types, the actual code you run does not. This is where TypeScript differs from truly statically typed languages like C and C++ where different variable types are stored differently in memory.

Regardless of how careful you design your types, there is always a chance that a different value type might be assigned on a variable and can cause runtime errors although TypeScript says it’s okay. Here is an interesting flood by the creator of parcel.js.

3. Slow Development

Will TypeScript make you more productive, or will it get in the way more than it helps? When writing programs only in JavaScript it is sufficient for you to come up with a solution and then build it. But in TypeScript, you also need to figure out the types and type structures of the objects you are dealing with and tell it to your code. If you want to follow “best practices” regarding TypeScript this will mean that you will also spend a good amount of time on how & where to declare your types (this is generally true for most tools/paradigms).

4. Unnecessary Solutions

Types should not be a prerequisite for writing good code. You should strive to build things in a so simple and explicit manner so that a type is not a requirement for them anyways.


When deciding whether to use a tool, it’s important to consider whether a simpler, more direct approach can solve the problem without it. If someone suggests using tool X to solve a problem, you should ask what the current tools can’t do and what tool X offers to justify adding complexity and dependencies. If someone claims that TypeScript is more productive than JavaScript, the burden of proof is on them.

Without methodical research comparing TypeScript and JavaScript in terms of productivity (if you are aware of any relevant research, please let me know), we must rely on our reasoning to decide the best approach.

Based on the arguments presented, it appears to me that using TypeScript is not necessary in many cases. While it may have benefits in specific situations like building public libraries, it also comes with costs to consider. It’s important to weigh these costs against the specific needs of the project before deciding to use TypeScript. In essence, using TypeScript can be justified based on what you do, but most probably you don’t need it!


You Might Not Need Typescript
The Schocking Secret About Static Types
Typescript is a waste of time, change my mind
Typescript is not a script