Thursday, August 25, 2016

History of Javascript

       The History of JavaScript

JavaScript is a coding language started in the 1990s that is now a cornerstone in the foundation of web design. Its history is much rockier those of HyperText Markup Language or Cascading Style Sheets but, despite its past, it has survived to become an invaluable part of web development.   

   In order to understand JavaScript and its history you first need to understand why it was created. In the late 90s, Netscape owned the browsers scene with its Navigator but they realized in 1995 that the web needed to be more dynamic. Founder Marc Andreessen believed the web coding languages such as; HTML and CSS needed a ‘glue language’ that would be used to assemble the various aspects of web design, as well as, organize images and plugins. It was in May of 1995 that Netscape hired Brendan Eich who wrote JavaScript in the space of ten days. At the time of its development, it was codenamed Mocha and soon after it was completed in September it was officially named LiveScript. Only three months later the name was changed to JavaScript after several lawsuits over the prefix ‘live’. 

In November of 1996 Netscape submitted JavaScript to the ECMA in order to form a standard specification so that browsers could implement the JavaScript work done at Netscape. The effort resulted in ECMAScript which contained multiple extensions, the most popular of which being   JavaScript, but also including JScirpt and ActionScript. Despite Microsoft’s rise in the browser game, it was clear they had no intention of adopting JavaScript in IE. Not much happened after that until Brendan Eich, now a co-founder of the open source software company Mozilla partnered with ECMA to work on future versions of ECMAScript.    

Around the same time, JavaScript was becoming common in web design a new browser was on the rise. Business magnate Bill Gates and his upcoming software company Microsoft had created Internet Explorer. The release of IE 3 introduced compatibility with languages such as; CSS and extensions of HTML but still resisted the adoption of JavaScript, instead opting for their own ‘JScript’ which was an extension of the ECMAScript standard. As Internet Explorer began to rival Navigator JavaScript became an annoying hurdle in the making of cross platform websites. It was too time-consuming for developers to make websites that worked just as well on Internet Explorer as they did on Navigator so many developers were forced to choose. What followed was a browser war between Microsoft and Netscape. 

Often when large tech companies struggle to develop popular tools the top percent of the community will try instead. It happened with HTML 5.0 and it happened with JavaScript. In 2005 a community effort was sparked by Jesse James Garrett called Ajax. Ajax was described as a set of technologies (with JavaScript as the backbone) used to aid web applications. Ajax not only drove new innovation in JavaScript but brought a professional spotlight to the language. Today JavaScript is considered one of the three main languages of web design alongside HTML and CSS.

By: Phoenix SEO expert Joseph Stevenson.

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