Back to the list

Ecma International celebrates its 60th Anniversary


Ecma International marks an important milestone by reaching the age of 60

Geneva, 17 June 2021

Ecma was founded by leading European computer manufacturers and held its constituent assembly on 17 June 1961, making it one of the oldest organizations dedicated to the standardization of information and communication technologies (ICT). The founding manufacturers saw the necessity for standardization in operational techniques, such as programming languages and input and output codes. The goal was to make it possible to use data prepared by one manufacturer to be used on a computer made by another manufacturer.

Among the first standards developed by Ecma, ECMA-6 (7-bit Coded Character Set) specifies a set of 128 characters (control characters and graphic characters such as letters, numbers and symbols) on 7 bits with their coded representation. This character set is applicable to the alphabets of Latin writing. The first edition was approved in April 1965, on the basis of the work carried out by the technical committee TC1 of Ecma, and was regularly updated until December 1991.

Another historical Ecma standard is ECMA-9 (FORTRAN). The approval of the first edition also takes us back to April 1965. FORTRAN is one of the oldest programming languages and was developed and first published by an IBM team of programmers in 1957.

On the Internet and the Web, Ecma is known to be the organization that develops and maintains the ECMAScript standard, also known as JavaScript. JavaScript, the most widely known and used implementation on the web, is used by all browser and other Internet application manufacturers. The development of JavaScript began in 1994 in Netscape’s laboratories and was approved as an Ecma standard in June 1997. ECMAScript is specified in ECMA-262, ECMA-402, ECMA-404 and ECMA-414.

Since 1961, Ecma has published 526 standards and technical reports. Over the years, Ecma has maintained relations with ISO, IEC, ITU, ETSI and other organizations. In 60 years, Ecma has been guided by four Secretary Generals.

A big thank you to the hundreds of valued members, committee chairs, editors, contributors and the secretariat, especially those who had faith in Ecma from the very beginning.

Happy Anniversary Ecma!