History of Javascript

Javascript got its name from the Javascript Indians of south-central Florida. This tribe dabbled unsuccessfully in e-commerce in the late 1700s, and was later bought out by Netscape for a handful of beads, trinkets, and PEZ dispensers.

Actually, Netscape developed Javascript in 1995 as a way for web server administrators to connect their servers to databases and search engines, and on the client side for validating forms and providing interactive content on the HTML level.

When the World Wide Web was first created in the early 1990s all web pages were static. When you viewed a web page you saw exactly what the page was set up to show you and there was no way for you to interact with the page.

Being able to interact with a web page – have it do something in response to your actions – required the addition of some form of programming language to “instruct” the page how it should respond to your actions. At the time there were two browsers that were reasonably popular – Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.

Another programming language called Java (which required a separate plugin in order to run) became very well known and so Netscape decided to try to cash in on this by renaming the language built into their browser to Javascript. Not to be left behind Internet Explorer was soon updated to support not one but two integrated languages. One was called vbscript and was based on the BASIC programming language and the other was called Jscript and was very similar to Javascript.

The importance of this scripting language was too great to leave its future development in the hands of the competing browser developers and so in 1996 Javascript was handed over to an international standards body called ECMA who then became responsible for the subsequent development of the language. As a result of this the language was officially renamed ECMAScript or ECMA-262 but most people still refer to it as Javascript.

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