A Brief History of JavaScript

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Brendan Eich, a programmer who worked for Netscape Communications Corporation, created JavaScript in 1995. It took him only 10 days to develop JavaScript, which then went under the name Mocha. But then the name Mocha was changed to JavaScript.

According to Axel Rauschmayer in his book Speaking JavaScript: An In-Depth Guide for Programmers,

Knowing why and how JavaScript was created helps us understand why it is the way it is.

Axel Rauschmayer, An In-Depth Guide for Programmers

Read a snippet from his book to give you a bit of history behind the language from a different, deeper, and more professional perspective. It goes into why JavaScript was originally created. Very interesting and worth the read!

Release of The Mosaic Web Browser

In 1993, the (NCSA) Mosaic web browser, one of the first web browsers out there, was released. It was the first browser with a graphical user interface (GUI), easy for non-technical people to use. It was instrumental in the expansion of the World Wide Web. The lead developers of Mosaic then created the Netscape corporation, which subsequently released a more sophisticated browser called Netscape Navigator, in 1994. Netscape quickly became the most popular browser used.

The Addition of Java and Scheme to Netscape Navigator

Back in those early years of the Web, web pages were static, and could not exhibit dynamic behavior in the browser as they can today. However, developers wanted more out of the Web, so in 1995, Netscape decided to add a scripting language to Navigator. They did two things simultaneously to make this happen. They collaborated with Sun Microsystems to embed the Java programming language, and they hired Brendan Eich to embed the Scheme language.

Java, a high-level, class-based, object-oriented programming language, was first created by developers James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton in 1991. According to Wikipedia,

Java was originally designed for interactive television, but it was too advanced for the digital cable television industry at the time. The language was initially called Oak after an oak tree that stood outside Gosling’s office. Later the project went by the name Green and was finally renamed Java, from Java coffee, a type of coffee from Indonesia. Gosling designed Java with a C/C++-style syntax that system and application programmers would find familiar.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_(programming_language)

The Release of JavaScript and Java

Sun Microsystems first released Java 1.0 to the public in 1996. As for JavaScript, Netscape decided that instead of embedding the Scheme language in the browser, Brendan Eich should create a new scripting language with a syntax similar to Java. This new language was first called LiveScript when shipped as part of a Navigator beta release in September 1995, but was later changed to JavaScript in December 1995. The naming has confused many ever since. People not in the know still mistake JavaScript for Java, and think them interchangeable.

In response to Sun Microsystem‘s development of JavaScript for the browser, Microsoft came out with its own dynamic scripting language for their Internet Explorer browser, which came out in 1995. According to Wikipedia,

Microsoft reverse-engineered the Navigator interpreter to create its own, called JScript.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_(programming_language)

The Appearance of Cross Browser Incompatibilities

JScript was first released in 1996, alongside initial support for CSS and extensions to HTML for Internet Explorer. However, their implementations differed greatly from those for Navigator. These differences, which came to be known as cross-browser incompatibilities, made it difficult for developers to make their sites work the same across these browsers.

According to Wikipedia,

Netscape submitted JavaScript to Ecma International in 1996, as the starting point for a standard specification that all browser vendors could conform to. This led to the official release of the first ECMAScript language specification in June 1997.

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java_(programming_language)

JavaScript Defined by the ECMAScript Standard

To this day, JavaScript is defined by the ECMAScript Standard. ECMAScript (or ES), is the scripting language that forms the basis of JavaScript. ECMAScript is standardized by the ECMA International standards organization in the ECMA-262 and ECMA-402 specifications. In other words, ECMA International, via ECMA-262 and ECMA-402 specs, determines what changes or updates are accepted into the JavaScript language. For more information about ECMAScript, please visit JavaScript language resources on MDN (Mozilla Developer Network).