A Brief History of JavaScript


The JavaScript story began in 1995 with a developer named Brendan Eich at Netscape Communications Corporation. He created an early version of JavaScript, originally called LiveScript, but soon renamed JavaScript. The Java programming language was flying high at that time, so one can only assume that led to the name JavaScript because JavaScript itself has very little in common with the Java language. In fact, Sun Microsystems, the creator of Java, had a trademark on the Java name, so the “JavaScript” name is actually a trademark of Sun Microsystems, and JavaScript was announced at a joint press conference of Netscape and Sun in December 1995.

JavaScript caught on; it was fun, it was cool, it was easy to use. Using JavaScript, you could write scripts in Web pages to make all kinds of great effects happen, from responding to mouse rollovers to changing color schemes at the click of the mouse.

That meant that Microsoft had to get in on the deal too. Microsoft was Netscape’s competitor in the browser field at that time; it was the Netscape Navigator vs. the Internet Explorer. Microsoft decided to support JavaScript too, but because JavaScript was a product of Netscape, Microsoft created its own version, called JScript.

JScript was released July 16th, 1996, in Internet Explorer 3.0. Now there was both JavaScript and JScript, and the resulting split personality for the language between Netscape and Microsoft has had repercussions that echo down to today. So started the cross-browser and cross-browser version wars that have made life so very interesting for the JavaScript programmer ever since. Programmers started to find that although JScript looked just like JavaScript, some scripts would run in Netscape and not in Internet Explorer, and vice versa.

The result was chaos, and ultimately, both Netscape and Microsoft realized something had to be done. They turned to a third party, the standards body European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA). You might expect the standardized language to be called JavaScript, or possibly JScript, but it’s not called either. It’s called ECMAScript, although the common name is still JavaScript.

The upshot is that although there are still differences, as you’re going to see in this book, JavaScript is converging between browsers now-at least the core part of the language matches ECMAScript version 3.0.

All three parties, Microsoft, Netscape, and ECMA, have published reference documents for JavaScript. You can find the JavaScript 1.5 user’s guide at http://web.archive.org/web/20040211195031/devedge.netscape.com/library/manuals/2000/javascript/1.5/guide/. And you can find the documentation for JScript 5.6 online as well at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/script56/html/.asp.

The ECMAScript specifications are also online:

  • The ECMAScript Language Specification, 3rd edition is at www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-262.htm.

  • The ECMAScript Components Specification is at www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-290.htm.

  • The ECMAScript 3rd Edition Compact Profile specification is at www.ecma-international.org/publications/standards/Ecma-327.htm.



Ajax Bible
Ajax Bible
ISBN: 0470102632
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 169

Similar book on Amazon
HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible
HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible
JavaScript Bible
JavaScript Bible
JavaScript Bible
JavaScript Bible
PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)
PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition)

flylib.com © 2008-2017.
If you may any questions please contact us: flylib@qtcs.net