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What is ECMAScript? How is it different from Javascript?

         
 OCTOBER 22, 2017   by iamabhishek

ECMAScript is a standard, on which JavaScript is based, this sentence more or less answers the question asked in the title of this article, but JavaScript was created before ECMAScript. How is it possible that the standard was built based on its implementation? To understand this, let's take a dive into the history.

Brendan Eich was hired by Netscape to develop a language for its web developers. A new language which should resemble Java but must not be as strict as Java with its implementation. So Brendan started working, with the target to create a language so simple, that even a beginner can understand it. He created a new language known as Mocha, which became LiveScript and later was called JavaScript when the Marketing team of Netscape requested Sun to allow them to name it JavaScript, which still confuses many beginners to think that this is somehow related to Java, but it's not.

About a year or two later, Microsoft started working on its own version of JavaScript and named it JScript. At that time Microsoft IE had started dominating the Internet Browser market.

During this time, Netscape decided to build a standard around JavaScript which will set the path for future implementations of the language they created. ECMA International was assigned to execute this and they created the ECMAScript, based on JavaScript, ActionScript, and JScript.

ECMA stands for European Computer Manufacturer's Association. They are well known to create standards in the computer industry.

In 1999, with the release of the 3rd iteration, ECMAScript 3, the project went into hibernation for 10 long years, and no new version was released until 2009. During this period, Microsoft's IE lost its dominance to modern browsers like Mozilla and Chrome, which set a new course for dynamic web pages, by making the rendering process fast and supporting all the standards.

ECMAScript 4 was never released, and ECMAScript 5 was released in 2009, and since then it never looked back.

There is always an ongoing debate amongst developers about, whether ECMAScript is a subset of JavaScript or JavaScript is a subset of ECMAScript, but there is no standard definition for this.

Javascript vs ECMAScript

Considering the fact, that ECMAScript is the language and JavaScript is the dialect. But JavaScript was built first, and then a standard was carved out of it and named ECMAScript. But, ECMAScript is now the core standard which JavaScript follows. Yes, JavaScript has many features which are not available in ECMAScript, but does that make JavaScript a superset of ECMAScript? Better not get into this, as this will only confuse you.

These days, every browser has a JavaScript Interpreter, which is enough to understand how popular it has become. The modern-day JavaScript is a combination of ECMAScript and DOM API. With ECMAScript providing all the specifications and logic for creating and editing objects, arrays and numbers and DOM API make it possible to communicate with HTML/XML documents.

The latest release for ECMAScript is its 8th Edition, which was finalized in June 2017.

We hope this clears out the confusion of How JavaScript is related to ECMAScript. We would love to know more about this topic from you. Do share with us, if we missed anything here.


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