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A Brief History of JavaScript

Javascript was invented by Netscape in 1977. At first it was called "LiveScript" but the previous year Netscape had released a programming language called "Java" that could be used to embed small applications, called "applets" into webpages. Java could bring boring static webpages to life and its popularity exploded. As a marketing ploy to play off the success of Java, Netscape renamed LiveScript to JavaScript. The confusion between Java and JavaScript to neophyte programmers persists to this day.

Netscape had released its Navigator Web browser in October 1994, and it had close to 100% of the market share. At first Microsoft ignored the Internet, primarily because the Internet was a 32-bit system while their Windows operating system was 16-bits. But when Windows 95 came out, a "simulated" 32-bit operating system, Microsoft released Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer was not totally compatible with Netscape's Navigator, and it used VBScript rather than JavaScript.

Sun Microsystems and Netscape combined in April 1995. With the popularity of Java, Microsoft licensed Java and JavaScript from Sun Microsystems in 1996 and immediately began modifying the code so that it would have greater functionality on Internet Explorer. However, It was Sun's intention that programs written in Java or JavaScript should run the same anywhere, so in 1997 Sun sued Microsoft releasing noncompliant Java products and corrupting the standard.

The lawsuit resulted in Microsoft losing the rights to JavaScript, but by that time they had already created their own version, compatible with JavaScript, but with the greater functionality on Internet Explorer that Microsoft desired, and named it JScript.

With the incompatibility between JavaScript and JScript, web developers and the Web using public were getting very frustrated. With Microsoft having the dominant operating system, and with Internet Explorer pre-installed, Navigator began loosing market share.

In November 1996, Sun Microsystems submitted JavaScript to the non-profit International Standards Organization ECMA. To help avoid confusion, ECMA renamed JavaScript to ECMAScript and in June 1997 published the ECMA-262 specification. Since then ECMA has released several updates to the standard, the latest being ECMAScript version 6 released June 2015.

Today, when we say "JavaScript" we're referring to ECMAScript. Problems with JavaScript are no longer related to code incompatibility, but to device incompatibility. With the Internet being accessed by a multitude of different devices developed by different manufacturers, there is a great incompatibility in which parts of the standard a particular device is capable of executing.

In an environment of rapid technology change, it's best to test your JavaScript code on the specific browsers and devices on which you plan its operation.

More Java Script Code:
• Interactively Set Webpage Colors
• How to Use a JavaScript try-catch Block to Debug
• Get Webpage File Date and File Size
• The Java Script window.open Method
• Rounding a Number with JavaScript
• Java Script Math.sin Method
• JavaScript Operators
• Using the Java Script eval() Function
• The Conditional Operator
• Remove Blank Spaces From Ends of a String

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