Ten Days in May and Twenty-Seven Years Later, JavaScript Is Still the Language

JavaScript is still everywhere, 27 years after Brendan Eich took ten days to create it.

“I knew after I got into Netscape Two, it would either die quickly, and Microsoft would completely replace it, or it would be around for twenty years or longer.” 

In his opening comments at the 2017 dotJS Conference, Eich recalled his 1995 prediction to a Netscape teammate. He had just created JavaScript, then code-named “Mocha.” He was recruited to Netscape to create a language to complement Java and be usable by novice programmers.

“I Did Ten Days of Hard Work”

“Twenty-two years ago in May, I did ten days of hard work,” Eich began at the 2017 conference. “I didn’t sleep much. Before that, in February, I was recruited. My friends said, ‘come out to the coast, we’ll have a few laughs.” 

JavaScript has been one of the three primary programming language elements for a quarter-century with CSS and HTML. Ninety-seven percent of websites use JavaScript on the client-side. It is a text-based programming language that makes pages more dynamic and interactive. 

“HTML is responsible for structure, and CSS is responsible for style,” wrote Kyla Brown in a blog for Codecademy. “JavaScript provides interactivity to web pages in the browser.”

The Software Guild provides a description of JavaScript on their site: “Dynamic typing, as featured in JavaScript, allows you to build cities in the sky as you float through the air. It allows you to define variables, data structures, objects, functions, and arrays in line, at the place where you need them.”

ECMA-262 Standard in 1997

TechTerms.com offers the following description: “JavaScript functions can be called within <script> tags or when specific events take place. While standard JavaScript is still used for performing basic client-side functions, many web developers now prefer to use JavaScript libraries like jQuery to add more advanced dynamic elements to websites.”

In the 1990s, Netscape (Navigator) and Microsoft (Internet Explorer) were battling to become the most popular browser. Netscape 2 needed a more accessible language for programming and gave its new employee Eich ten days to produce a lightweight scripting language.

Netscape was sold to AOL, and JavaScript became the ECMA-262 standard in 1997. The Mozilla Foundation, co-founded by Eich, directed the development of browsers using this code before using an updated version to develop the Firefox browser.

Number One for Nine Years Running

For the ninth year, JavaScript is the most used programming language in Stack Overflow’s 2021 survey of more than 80,000 developers. HTML/CSS is number two, and Python third.

Lesley Girao, a web developer on the LMS/GEM technology team, continually updates her JavaScript knowledge. She began with a free online program by Codeacademy and further grasped concepts in a web developer boot camp.

“I’m always learning JavaScript! she says. “It’s versatile. In the front-end, JavaScript adds interactions making a website more dynamic and improving the user experience. In the back end, JavaScript can validate, store, and share data.”

Creating a Brave New World

Javatpoint.com provides an extensive list of categories for JavaScript uses. These include drag-and-drop features, sliders, games, mobile apps, dialog boxes, and pop-up windows.

Eich is now the CEO of Brave Software, which offers a browser and other features with a mission to protect software online. It takes an ambitious approach to “shield you from the ads, trackers, and other creepy stuff trying to follow you across the web.”

In a 2018 article by David Cassel for The New Stack, Eich joked that, ironically, JavaScipt had become a fundamental source that advertisers use for web tracking. 

“So, I’m making up for it,” he said at the end of the story.

Brave Search now boasts a “private, safe, and faster browsing experience” with more than 50 monthly active users.

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