JavaScript history

Netscape released a scripting language called LiveScript in its early beta release of Navigator 2.0 in 1995. Netscape decided to rename the language as JavaScript to make it more sound like the hot Java programming language. Despite the fact these languages have similar names, they are two different programming languages.

First of all, JavaScript is easy to learn and use while Java is not. Furthermore, JavaScript is useful for simple tasks while Java is useful for complex tasks. Next, JavaScript does not require a developer's kit but Java requires a Java Developer's Kit (JDK) to create applets. The applet is a program that gets downloaded to a browser and then runs on the browser. Lastly, JavaScript can be directly inserted into HTML document but Java applets are separate files that must be complied (a format that a computer can execute) before they can be run. Table 1 provides a brief summary of difference between JavaScript and Java.

Table 1 Comparison of JavaScript and Java
JavaScript Java
Easy to learn and use Complicated to learn and use
Useful for simple tasks Useful for complex tasks
No developer's kit required Requires Java Developer Kit to create applets
JavaScript code is written directly in HTML and it does not require compiling Java programs are saved in separate files and must be compiled before they can be run

After Netscape introduced JavaScript in 1995, Microsoft introduced its own form of JavaScript called JScript for its browser: Internet Explorer. As time progressed, major browser vendors included support for different brands of JavaScript. Table 2 lists different versions of JavaScript and how Netscape and Internet Explorer support them.

Table 2 Different Versions of JavaScript
JavaScript Version Number Description
JavaScript 1.0 This is the first version of JavaScript and it is supported by Netscape 2.0 and Internet Explorer 3.0.
JavaScript 1.1 This version was introduced in Netscape 3.0 but only some parts were implemented in Internet Explorer 3.0.
JavaScript 1.2 Supported by both Netscape 4.0 and Internet Explorer 4.0.
JavaScript 1.3 Introduced in Netscape 4.06 and is supported by Internet Explorer 4.0 and above.