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November 09, 2007

the politics of javascript/actionscript's future

is the future of ECMAScript 4 (i.e., javascript and actionscript) based on technical or political considerations? judging by the recent exchange on the es4-discuss mailing list, there's a good helping of both.

if you have some (well, a lot of) time on your hands, and you're curious to see some not-so-internal debate on the future of ECMAScript 4 between Microsoft, Yahoo!, Adobe, Mozilla, Opera, "and others," start here:

>> read Fwd: [TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM

there's some skillful (and at times entertaining) rhetoric employed by some involved--particularly brendan eich, the creator of javascript. see this post.

a few quotations from brendan, to give you the flavour of the discussion:

~"I created JS, so I can speak more authentically than whoever was quoted above: I love JS too, quirks and all, but the idea that it should be kept small, like a Toy Poodle, while giant companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo! are purveying and propagating onto the Web proprietary Rottweiler languages -- JS-beating programming languages with ES4-like features -- and even hyping such languages against JS (see the rigged C# chess demo from Mix07 that MS wrote to show up the JScript version of the same program: -- this is a breathtaking imposture."

~"The insinuation that someone was passing a self-described overview off as a spec is not a "fact", it's a lie from the anonymous miscreant."

~"(I stopped reading /. long ago, as having my own small children to look after involved less chin-wiping and was more edifying and entertaining. :-)"

~"kris zyp wrote:
> I think that if even 25% subset of ES4 was uniformly
> implemented in all browsers in 10 years, web developers
> would be vastly further along than if the 100% of ES4
> was implemented in half the browsers.

Brendan replied:
You're kidding, right? Ten years is far too long, and there's no coherent 25% -- a lot of ES4 depends on the type system. Would you cut that and try to stitch the remaining pieces back together? King Solomon only offered to bisect a child to find the true mother. Quartering was not a good idea even for that purpose. Anyway, Microsoft is now the avowed anti-mother of ES4, so you are only going to help mutilate or kill ES4 with this kind of bargaining. "

the debate also spilled over into the blog world and the press. here's Microsoft's Chris Wilson's position (he's the Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform) and Brendan Eich's response.

if you have time to wade through the entire discussion, you'll stumble upon many interesting links. have fun...

Posted by moock at November 9, 2007 07:44 PM