A Short History of JavaScript

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JavaScript, not to be confused with Java[1], was created in 10 days in May of 1995 by Brendan Eich[2] at Netscape[3]. JavaScript was not always known as JavaScript though, and was initially known as Mocha, a name chosen by Marc Andreessen[4], founder of Netscape.

In September of 1995 the name was changed to LiveScript but, in December of the same year, upon receiving a trademark license from Sun, the name JavaScript was adopted and stayed.

In 1996 - 1997 JavaScript was taken to ECMA[5] to carve out a standard which other browser vendors could then implement based on the work done at Netscape. The work done over this period of time eventually led to the official release of ECMA-262 Ed.1. The name of the official standard of the language is called ECMAScript with JavaScript being the most well known of the implementations.

The standards process continued in cycles with releases of ECMAScript 2 and in 1999 ECMAScript 3, which is then the baseline for modern day JavaScript, however, it is at this point that things stalled and went into limbo.

It was also at this point where the various parties involved split into two separate groups, much in the same fashion as what happened at the W3C[6] around HTML and the formation of the WHAT-WG[7].

Even with the split and the seeming stalled evolution of the ECMAScript standard, we did experience a major revolution in 2005 when Jesse James Garrett[8] coined the phrase and presented the technique we now know as Ajax.

The above caused a real explosion across the web with the language evolution not so much being spearheaded by ECMA but much more so by open source libraries and the communities that formed around them. This period saw the release of JavaScript libraries such as Prototype[9], jQuery[10], Dojo[11] and Mootools[12] among others.

In 2008 the split parties came together in Oslo in an effort to take up the standards process again and drive the language forward using an agenda that is known as Harmony[13].

All of this then brings us to today, with JavaScript entering a completely new and exciting cycle of evolution, innovation and standardisation, moving beyond the browser to the server with the Nodejs[14] platform.