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ECMA-262: The ECMAScript (JavaScript) – the most popular web scripting standard – is celebrating its 20th birthday


Geneva, 18 September 2017

In 2017 the popular ECMAScript Standard has become 20 years old.

For giving some further details we have linked three interesting original documents from 1997.

The work on ECMAScript has started in November 1996 (see the the minutes of the 1st TC39 meeting). There was a great interest for the work from the very beginning. Today from the original development team Brendan Eich (Netscape) is still with TC39, while Carl Cargil (Netscape) was until last year the Adobe representative in the ECMA GA and member of the Ecma CC.

The 1st Edition of ECMAScript (ECMA-262) was finished in Ecma very quickly already in seven months. The Ecma GA has approved the standard already in June 1997 but some editing items (and of course the decision on the final name of the scripting language) was left for September 1997. Then the standard was published at Ecma and submitted for fast-track to ISO/IEC JTC 1 where it was approved in 1998 (see the TC39 Chairman’s report the to CC of October 1997). Actually the name “ECMAScript” was among the candidates not the first choice but some other more preferred candidates had trademark issues….(see the minutes of the 5th TC39 meeting). For this reason today we sometimes see in use ECMAScript or JavaScript but in practice they cover the same standard.

Anyway, this is a good time to look back to the launch of this successful Ecma standard and to congratulate and thank to those who did the first ECMAScript standard in 1996-1997 but also to those many experts who developed it further to what ECMAScript has become today….Namely one of the most successful standards on the web.

For more information: please contact Dr. Istvan Sebestyen, Secretary General of Ecma International. Email: