Eich took parts of Scheme (first-class functions) and Self (prototypal inheritance) and made the syntax “look-like” that of Java. (of course he did a lot more than just that.)
The language was made for amateur scripters who wrote simple code for client-side execution. Not many had predicted that the language would become a popular choice for building dynamic websites, server side frameworks, databases and even powering drones.
After the initial release in 1997, the first major release came in 1999 called ECMAScript 3. Post which the language was stagnant for a long time. While there was a draft for ECMAScript 4, it was never released due to lack of consensus on the featureset.
Developers started handing off non-business critical calculations like template rendering to the client, thereby improving server response times and reducing loads on backend servers. Websites were suddenly faster than ever.
Crockford also contributed directly to the language, most notably his specification and implementation of JSON. Today, it is the most common data format used for asynchronous browser/server communication, largely replacing XML, and is used by AJAX. AJAX made it possible for single page applications to gain popularity.
In 2009 ES5 was launched with JSON support baked into the language itself. This version also added a ‘strict mode’ aimed at capturing silent errors. According to John Resig – “This strict context prevents certain actions from being taken and throws more exceptions.”
As Node started getting popular, a huge ecosystem of contributors started creating and maintaining libraries to host servers, manipulate images or even stream data. Thus npm was born, which today is the largest repository of open-sourced packages in the world.
The committee has since 2015 decided to launch a version of the language every year in the format ES2015, ES2016, ES2017 and so on. Those features which cannot make to the current release get added to the next draft.
I know we have covered a lot in this post. We would eventually dig deep into the basic fundamentals of the language and then eventually work our way till we know how to read new drafts and know what to expect from future versions of the language. We will also explore various libraries written for client-side (Backbone, Ember, React, Redux etc) as well as back-end execution (Express, Meteor, Kraken etc) and learn how to use a few of them to create modern fast applications which solve real-world problems.
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