A Short History of the Development of JavaScript

by chromatic

At the 10 year anniversary of Mozilla's rebirth as a F/OSS project, Brendan Eich offered a short history of the development of JavaScript. In particular:

The big debate inside Netscape therefore became "why two languages? why not just Java?" The answer was that two languages were required to serve the two mostly-disjoint audiences in the programming ziggurat who most deserved dedicated programming languages: the component authors, who wrote in C++ or (we hoped) Java; and the "scripters", amateur or pro, who would write code directly embedded in HTML.

Whether any existing language could be used, instead of inventing a new one, was also not something I decided. The diktat from upper engineering management was that the language must "look like Java". That ruled out Perl, Python, and Tcl, along with Scheme. Later, in 1996, John Ousterhout came by to pitch Tk and lament the missed opportunity for Tcl.

Of greater interest may be Brendan's thoughts about code sharing and canonical URLs for the millions of identical bundles of JavaScript shuttled across the Internet every second.