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JavaScript: About

The story of JavaScript.

JavaScript is a simple programming language that has grown in popularity alongside and as part of the general growth in the World Wide Web and the Internet since the 90's.

JavaScript doesn't have a great deal in common with Java. JavaScript is a scripting language and it is simplier. The similarity in naming between JavaScript and Java is no accident as Java used to be used to write applets for the browser.


JavaScript was invented by Netscape Communications under the name Livescript 1.0. When Java became fashionable, the name was changed to JavaScript. It first appeared inside Netscape Navigator 2.0. Although invented by Netscape, the language is heavily influenced by other languages like C but also Java, Perl and other scripting languages. Microsoft saw the usefulness of JavaScript and released its own variant called JScript 1.0 and found inside Internet Explorer 3.0 and its Internet Information Server. JScript 1.0 is roughly compatible with Netscape's 1.0 version. Netscape later released version 1.1 of JavaScript inside both Netscape Navigator 3.0 and its LiveWire Web server, but Microsoft only included a few of this later version's features in JScript 1.0. These 3.0 browsers were widely used and partly incompatible causing grief for JavaScript programmers.

Netscape released the language definition for JavaScript to the public, and subsequently agreed with Microsoft and others to create a vendor-neutral standard. The European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) produced the standard in July 1997, calling the language ECMAScript. This standard is roughly equivalent to JavaScript 1.1, but did not include any HTML features. While this was happening, Netscape released JavaScript 1.2 inside Netscape Communicator's Navigator 4.0 component and Microsoft released JScript 2.0 for Internet Explorer 3.0. None of these language versions complied 100% with the ECMAScript standard.


Thanks to AJAX, JavaScript has become one of the most popular programming languages on the web. And infact, due to the popularity of the Internet, JavaScript may be the world's most popular programming language. Professional programmers have embraced the language when they used to denigrate it because its target audience consisted of amateur programmers.

See JavaScript Tutorial.

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