History (Background)

Scripting language history.


ECMAScript edition - 2

The JavaScript language was invented by Brendan Eich at Netscape. In the early days, it was known as LiveScript.

The ECMA 262 standard is based on the earlier work at Netscape where they embedded the JavaScript interpreter into the Netscape version 2.0 web browser. Microsoft also embedded script-driven capabilities into their version 3.0 of the MSIE browser. The Microsoft interpreter implements a language called JScript as opposed to JavaScript.

Microsoft clearly chose not to use the word JavaScript. It might be because any product name containing the word 'Java' needs to be licensed from Sun Microsystems or that it was a Netscape originated name. Given the very public antagonism between Microsoft and the other two, this is understandable. Perhaps it also gives Microsoft a little extra leeway to extend the language in non-standard ways.

Both Microsoft and Netscape have continued to enhance their implementations in subsequent versions of their web browsers, taking them sometimes in completely opposing directions.

In November 1996, the language started to become standardized by a working group under the ECMA organization. At this stage it was also commonly referred to as ECMAScript and became a published standard in June 1997. By April 1998, the ECMA 262 standard had been adopted as an international standard as ISO/IEC 16262 which prompted a second edition of the ECMA standard to keep the two fully aligned.

A third edition of the ECMA 262 standard was published in October 1999.

On the horizon are upgraded interpreters from Netscape and Microsoft, and the availability of JavaScript in a variety of other products such as TV set-top boxes, mobile phones and embeddings into legacy applications.

See also:JavaScript language, JavaScript version, JScript version


ECMA 262 edition 2 - section - Introduction

ECMA 262 edition 3 - section - Introduction

Wrox Instant JavaScript - page - 3