A Quick History
But the story begins a bit earlier, in 1961, when the EMCA was founded. The purpose of the ECMA (European Computer Manufacturing Association) was to standardize computer systems across Europe. Over time they defined standards for Floppy Disks, FAT filesystem, C++ as well as a scripting language called ECMAScript.
In 1993, the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), associated with the University of Illinois, released the NCSA Mosaic – one of the first popular graphical web browsers.
In 1994, some of the formerly employed NCSA developers founded a new company called Mosaic NetScape with the intention of creating the world’s number one web browser. The code name of this project was Mozilla (short-hand for Mosaic Killer). Upon release, their new browser was so successful that it immediately took the bulk of the market share. In order to avoid any possible trademark problems with the NCSA, it was renamed to NetScape Navigator and the company to NetScape Communications.
NetScape Communications wanted their web browser to be more dynamic and in 1995 they recruited Brendan Eich with the aim of embedding the Scheme programming language. During the same time, NetScape also collaborated with Sun Microsystems in order to leverage Sun’s Java programming language to gain the upper hand on their new challenger, Microsoft. It was decided that NetScape’s new scripting language should complement Java and have a similar syntax. Eich immediately started with the development of a prototype – which he completed within 10 days.
His scripting language, which he called “Mocha”, was based on the ECMAScript standard. It was loosely typed, unlike Java or C++, and were interpreted by a runtime engine, not pre-compiled.
As of 2012, all modern browsers fully supported ECMA 5.1.
Let’s go back to Jeff Atwood’s Law. He proposed this law on the Coding Horror Blog in response to an article by Tim Berners-Lee called “The Principle of Least Power”.
In short, he stated that nowadays, computer scientists and programmers do not pick a language for being the most powerful solution but rather for being the least powerful. “The less powerful the language, the more you can do with the data stored in that language”.
He continues to give an example of a weather information website. If the page presents the data using RDF design (Resource Description Framework), other users could retrieve that information as a table and incorporate it in their own applications or Power BI visualizations, for example. On the other side of the spectrum, if the application was a Java app, a search engine finding the page will have no idea what the page is about or what the data is. Only a user physically interacting with the application will understand what the purpose is.
The last say
Jeff Atwood (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Atwood)
The Rule of Least Power (https://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/leastPower.html)