JavaScript will be 25 years old this year. Netscape and Sun wrote a press release in 1995, announcing “the open, cross-platform object scripting language for enterprise networks and the Internet”:

JavaScript is designed for use by HTML page authors and enterprise application developers to dynamically script the behavior of objects running on either the client or the server. JavaScript is analogous to Visual Basic in that it can be used by people with little or no programming experience to quickly construct complex applications.

I’m amused by the term “HTML page author” 💙 and how quickly we can use JavaScript.

“Best viewed in…”

Netscape Navigator was the largest browser when Microsoft launched their Internet Explorer. JavaScript was implemented in Netscape, while Microsoft developed it’s own JScript. The browser war of the late 90ies meant most web developers built sites for only one of the browsers, and for years it was common to use a badge recommending one browser over the other.

Ecma standards

Ecma International was originally European Computer Manufacturers Association, but their name is no longer an acronym, and should apparently not be written in all caps. Examples of Ecma standards:

  • ECMA-10 Data Interchange on Punched Tape
  • ECMA-48 ANSI escape sequences
  • ECMA-119 CD-ROM volume and filestructure
  • ECMA-262 ECMAScript Language Specification

ECMAScript (or ES)

The first editions came in 1997–99. ES4 was abandoned, so when ES5 was published in December 2009, 10 years had passed since the previous edition of the standard. ES5 added strict mode and arrow functions came with ES6, which was later renamed to ECMAScript 2015, and after that the names continues to be confusing:

  • 7th Edition — ECMAScript 2016
  • 8th Edition — ECMAScript 2017
  • 9th Edition — ECMAScript 2018
  • 10th Edition — ECMAScript 2019
  • …and next up is: ES.Next

Sounds great! All I am wondering about after reading up on the history of scripting in the browser, is why we write ECMAScript with all caps ECMA when the standards organisation is Ecma. 🤷🏻‍♀️