What Coding Language Does Google Docs Use?

Google Docs is a free suite of office tools that anyone can use to create, edit, or collaborate on documents. It includes word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs and runs directly in your browser–no need to download software or plugins first. But what programming language was Google Docs created in?

Google Docs is built using the JavaScript and Java programming language–two of the most popular coding languages. They’re both powerful, versatile, and easy to learn. That’s why they’re used by millions of developers around the world, and it’s also why Google Docs uses them.

But why exactly does Google Docs use JavaScript? Well, let’s take a closer look at how this coding language has helped shape Google Docs into what it is today.

What Is Google Docs Built Upon?

Google Docs was developed using JavaScript, which is one of the most popular coding languages. The document editor uses a closed-source editing surface and layout engine programmed entirely in JavaScript. This allows users to create and edit documents without installing any software. Additionally, the code is open source so that anyone can contribute to the development of Google Docs.

Google Docs uses PHP on its back-end. PHP is a scripting language that helps with server-side programming, which means it helps make websites more dynamic and interactive. Plus, PHP is one of the most popular coding languages in the world, so it’s no surprise that Google would use it for its own website. 

NGINX is also used on the back-end of Google Docs. NGINX is a web server that helps deliver content to users. It’s known for being fast and efficient, which makes it a great choice for handling large amounts of traffic.

Google Docs is constantly being developed and improved, with new features being added all the time. Recently, Google announced a major development for Docs–the editing surface and layout engine are now entirely in JavaScript.

This is a big deal because it means that Docs will now be even more powerful and flexible. Developers will be able to create custom plugins and extensions that all users can use. And since the engine is now in JavaScript, it will run faster and be more reliable.

Google Docs uses PHP on backend
I personally use Google Docs daily. It is my go-to tool to store all of my text documents. In general, I am a big fan of storing documents in the cloud (have a hard save on a USB stick as well!) and I have almost 100Gb of data stored in Google Drive.

Want to be a developer, but not sure if PHP is the right to start with? On this link, you can find out if you should learn PHP or HTML first.

Differences Between Google Docs and Other Text Editors

Google Docs is a bit different than most text editors. Most text editors use an editable HTML element, which allows you to type in code and see the results live. However, Google Docs is a web page that dynamically changes as you type. This means that you can’t actually see the code that you’re writing, but it’s still there behind the scenes.

Google Docs Editing Surface

The Google Docs Editing Surface is a unique online text editor that offers a variety of features and tools that are not found in other online text editors. For example, the Google Docs Editing Surface allows users to collaborate on documents in real-time, track changes, and leave comments. Additionally, the Google Docs Editing Surface offers a variety of templates and add-ons that can be used to customize the look and feel of a document.

New Layout Engine

The Google Docs Layout Engine is a proprietary system that renders documents in a format that can be displayed on any device. The engine was developed using the programming language Java. It is a component of the web browser that determines how to display a web page. 

The new Layout Engine is based on the W3C specification for CSS3, which is the latest standard for cascading style sheets. The layout engine is used to render the user interface of the application and to provide support for features such as pagination and hyphenation.

The goal of the layout engine is to provide a high-quality word processing experience that is responsive and easy to use, similar to MS Word or LibreOffice. The layout engine is constantly being updated and improved, and new features are added on a regular basis. For example, the layout engine was updated in 2017 to support right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.

Online Collaboration

Operational Transform is a method used to ensure that changes made to a document are reflected across all users in real-time. This is accomplished by storing each change as an operation, which is then applied to the document in order. The reason why this matters for text editors is because it allows for collaborative editing without the need for everyone to be using the same dependencies. 

In order to create a product that could allow for easy online collaboration, the team at Google had to choose a coding language that would be robust enough to handle multiple users working on a document simultaneously. 

They also needed a language that would be easy to learn for new users and wouldn’t require expensive software or hardware. After considering all of these factors, they decided to use JavaScript.

What Is Google Apps Script?

Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks across Google products. It is based on JavaScript 1.6 with some additional features (like the ability to reference Google Workspace services) and services. It can be used to create simple or complex applications with a user interface.

Google Apps Script is easy to learn for anyone with a basic knowledge of JavaScript. And it can be a powerful tool for automating tasks or adding new features to Google Workspace products.

What Coding Language Do Other Popular Google Apps Use?

Google Drive

Google Drive uses the programming language called Golang. It was created at Google in 2009 by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson. It is a compiled, statically typed language that feels like a dynamically typed language. This means that it is easy to write code quickly, but it is also fast and efficient.

Google Sheets

Google Sheets uses a proprietary coding language called Google Apps Script. This language is based on JavaScript and allows developers to extend the functionality of Google Sheets. Apps Script can be used to add new features to Sheets, such as custom menus and dialogs, or to automate tasks such as sending emails based on certain conditions.

Google drive is a cheap useful tool
Google Drive is a popular tool. The more data you want to have saved, the more you pay (at the time of the writing they do have a free plan as well with quite some Gb of data for free). The plans up to 100Gb are very cheap though.

The Bottom Line

JavaScript is one of the most popular coding languages, and it’s no surprise that Google Docs uses it. Not only is JS easy to learn, but it’s also powerful and versatile. That means you can do more with less code, which is perfect for a company like Google that needs to be efficient. And because JS is open source, anyone can contribute to its development, making it even better over time.