AMPscript Vs SSJS In Marketing Cloud

 

Server-side JavaScript (SSJS) and AMPscript for the Marketing Cloud use cases have various similarities as well as differences, this blog covers various aspects of JavaScript and SSJS.

  1. SSJS is a server-side scripting language and is similar to JavaScript.
  2. Executed at the Salesforce Marketing Cloud servers.
  3. SSJS works with the libraries provided by the Marketing cloud.
  4. Server-side JavaScript is executed at the time of rendering.

Server-side JavaScript can be declared as:

<script runat=server>

[Insert JavaScript Here]

</script>

  1. JavaScript’s key role is to create interactive and dynamic elements on the web browser – executed on the client side.
  2. JS is divided into two types.

Server Side: 

  1. Executed on the server instead of the web browser/client side.
  2. The developer uses this as this has the advantage of interacting with databases, making API (Application Program Interface) calls to external systems, etc.
  3. The server-side JS is more secure than client-side execution.
  4. An example of server-side JavaScript is Node JS.

Client-side:

  1. As the name suggests, this is executed at the client side means at the browser level.
  2. In this, there is a high risk of security as the code is executed at the browser level.

AMPscript – Introduction

  1. It is the proprietary scripting language within Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
  2. This language is used for dynamic content in emails, landing pages, SMS, and push messages.
  3. If I talk about myself then some of my favorite things to do with AMPscript is to personalize emails and create complex dynamic emails with conditional logic.
  4. AMPscript can be used within the HTML code of the email which is also known as inline or in code blocks.
  5. All inline AMPscript starts and ends with percent signs. Example: %%=value=%%

Inline AMPScript is used for:

  1. It easily embeds in the HTML.
  2. To output function responses or variables.

AMPscript code blocks are enclosed within: %%[ ]%%

Blocks of AMPscript are mainly used for:

  1. Declaration of variable
  2. Setting of variables
  3. Processing conditional logic
  4. Processing a large amount of data

This function follows the TOP-down approach which means the first variable will be processed first.

Data manipulation can be done with the help of AMPscript. It can make updates, and insert the data in the data extension.

Differences AMPscript & SSJS

AMPscript:

  1. AMPScript is executed by SFMC at the end of the email sent. Used for personalization, landing pages, etc
  2. This has a fixed set of pre-built functions to be used.
  3. It simply and efficiently handles inline personalization or simple IF ELSE statements.
  4. Execution of email using AMPscript is fast.
  5. Personalization String.
  6. The FOR loops that traverse through Data Extension
  7. With the help of AMPscript, we can track/ measure the impression.

SSJS:

  1. As said, this language is similar to JavaScript so the web developers are quite familiar.
  2. Web developers easily adopt this language, or I can say this becomes easier to learn because of JavaScript.
  3. We can use try-catch blocks
  4. With the help of SSJS – arrays can be used.
  5. EVAL/Math function can be used with the help of SSJS
  6. With the help of SSJS – JSON requests can be taken care of.
  7. In Cloud Page, the core libraries can be used.
  8. SSJS makes the execution of email slow.

Use Cases Or Scenarios  

Below are some use cases or scenarios where we identified the preferred programmatic language along with reasons as compared to other languages:

  1. AMPscript should be preferred for simple inline personalization, which includes content like greetings, names, emails, etc., and simple IF ELSE loops
  2. If the web developers are new to both programmatic languages, then AMPscript has a shorter learning curve compared to SSJS.
  3. If the web developers have experience with development, then SSJS will be easier to learn and implement.
  4. SSJS is preferred for Landing pages and applications when there are no functions to support in AMPscript
  5. In general, SSJS makes the execution of emails slow and hence shouldn’t be preferred over AMPscript until there are some specific benefits.
  6. SSJS should be preferred over AMPscript because of its JASON handling capabilities.

In case you wish to read and try it for yourself, please check out the Trailhead module for AMPscript and SSJS. For in-depth details, for both the programmatic languages, visit the link here.

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