ES vs JS

ES vs JS

If you cant answer the following questions, this post is for you

1. Do you code in ES or JS?
2. What does ES stands for?
3. Who decides what new feature can be added to new Javascript?
4. What is the current version of Javascript?

As with other programming languages, Javascript also has a lot of history going back to 1996. Here I will try to provide a concise summary of how JS has evolved in these 25 years.

Brenden Eich created Javascript in 10 days in 1996 for Netscape browser as a supporting scripting language which html designers can use to add interactions etc to a webpage. Hence JS had a lot of features which are intended to be non-programmers friendly.

To gain popularity at that time, Netscape people decided to rename the scripting language to “Javascript” from “Livescript” so as to relate it to Java which was hot then. Apart from this and usual programming syntax, Java and Javascript do not have anything in common. Both are Object Oriented too but that is also entirely different when it comes to implementation.

Soon Microsoft also started work on IE’s scripting language and added JScript to it. As said by Doughloud Crockford, the IE version was mostly Netscape’s reverse engineered version of Javascript. And because of this the features as well as the bugs also got copied. And so on the browser war started. Mostly it was Netscape vs Microsoft.

People had to write code to support Netscape and IE both. There was no standard. To standardise the browser and more specifically Javascript Netscape went to different organisations and requested to implement a standard so that language implementation becomes easy. People wont have to write code to support IE differently. No one accepted their proposal accept ECMA(European Computers Manufacturing Association) which mostly publishes standards for various electronic devices such as Radio equipment. ECMA agreed and published the first version of Javascipt in June 1997. Since Javascript was owned by Sun, they had to use a different name for the standard and thus it was named to ECMA-Script. ECMA already had standards till 261, so the number Javascript got was 262. Hence the name ECMA-262.

There is also a committee setup called TC-39 which includes representatives from major software vendors such as Microsoft, Google etc who meet twice a year and decide on the next Javascript features.

Not until 2009 did Microsoft came up with IE 8 which conformed to the standard. Before this people had to watch out for IE specific issues and had to write extra code just to support IE as its market share was still high.

As of now there have been 10 editions of ES. ES1 to ES9 including ES5.1(Incremental to ES5) and ES4(Abandoned). The latest is ES9 which obviously has a lot of features which will take time to get implemented by browsers. ES5 is the version that is mostly supported by browsers as of now but ES6 is slowly moving in with newer browsers such as chrome.

Coming back to our questions at the top.
#1 You always write Javascript whether you are using Chrome, Firefox, IE. The browser vendors write their Javascript engine which conforms to ES since the standard mentions Ecmascript and not Javascript which is still owned by Oracle. So if a version of chrome supports ES6 then you can write Javascript code according to the standard ES6 and that code will run.

#2 As given above ES refers to ECMAScript which means European Computers Manufacturing Association.

#3 TC-39

#4 ES9 is the latest, ES5 is mostly used, ES6 has a lot of new features.

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