Ten Days from Concept to Going Live (1995)
Brendan Eich’s work assignment held the attributes of mission impossible. The development needed to be ready in ten days for inclusion with the September 1995 release of the Netscape browser.
The work had to comply with the recently signed broad technology exchange agreement and product distribution signed between Netscape and Sun Microsystems. Additionally, management requirements stressed the importance of its appearance. The language needed to resemble Sun Microsystems’ Java language to feed on Java’s popularity, but it could not be Java in order to respect copyright laws. It should feel rich and functionally powerful for fast market adoption but should not be perceived as a competitor to Java. Eich was forbidden from using Java’s object-oriented syntax. During development, it was code-named “Mocha” to be promoted as a companion to Java, a lightweight, friendly language for the non-programmer.
Eich pulled it off. He wrote the scripting language tapping into his knowledge of the functionalities of Scheme, added ingredients inspired from Self’s prototypes, and created his own Java-like semantic.
The Browser War (1995 – 2003)
Prior to Netscape’s Navigator browser release in 1994, Microsoft had been focused on dislodging AOL with Microsoft Network, ActiveX, and VBScript and developed a new version of Microsoft SQL Server designed for internet applications in 1995. Following the Internet Explorer’s release in Windows 95, it did not take long for Microsoft to catch up with Netscape with the release of a reversed-engineered Jscript released in 1996.
Microsoft pushed Netscape Navigator out of the market through bundling tactics and made the 1997 release of Internet Explorer 4, “The Web the Way You Want It,” the de-facto web browser in all Windows Operating Systems, the Classic Mac OS, the HP-UX system and Solaris platforms. AOL purchased Netscape Communications Corporation for $4.3 Billion in late 1998. But by the year 2000, Microsoft had complete control of the web browser market.
Microsoft, in a monopoly position, no longer cared about standardization and TC39 was disbanded with work on ECMAScript 4 relegated to the vault. Eventually, AOL let go of the Netscape Navigator employees in 2003. And it would eventually sell 800 patents to Microsoft including the ones covering the Netscape browser in 2011 for $1.1 Billion cash.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
The Rebirth (2003 – 2005)
Image Credit: Stack Overflow 2019 Annual Survey
Becoming Ubiquitous (2006-2020)