A Major Milestone in JavaScript Standardization


In the world of web standards, JavaScript is known as ECMAScript and maintenance of its definition is the responsibility of the Ecma International standards organization.  The ECMAScript standard was last updated in 1999, so it is quite significant that Ecma has announced that it has completed development of a revised ECMAScript specification and is releasing it for public review and testing in anticipation of final standardization later this year. This version is named ECMAScript, Fifth Edition Candidate Specification.


 


The goal of this revision was to update the ECMAScript specification to reflect the language as it is actually implemented in modern web browsers and to establish a foundation for the future evolutions of the language.  New features include accessor properties, reflective creation and inspection of objects, program control of property attributes, additional array manipulation functions, support for the JSON object encoding format, and a strict mode that provides enhanced error checking and program security. Many of these features standardize enhanced functionality that has been provided by individual browsers but has not yet been universally adopted.


 


So, what does it mean for this to be a “candidate specification”? All the contributors to this development wanted to make sure that revising the ECMAScript specification would improve the web for developers. To this end, we all committed to not finalizing a revision unless it had first been demonstrated that the revision can be interoperably implemented by web browsers and that such implementations can continue to compatibility handle existing web content.  The “candidate specification” is the specification revision that is going to be tested against those requirements.  Having reached the “candidate specification” milestone means that all features are frozen and that we are done with specification writing. Microsoft and others are already well along with prototype implementations that will be used for testing. We all hope and expect that the testing will be successful and completed by the end of this summer so that the ECMAScript Fifth Edition can be ratified as an official web standard by the end of this year.


 


For the average web developer the release of a candidate specification has little immediate impact because you have to create content that works with the browser versions that are actually in use today.  However, we expect that once it is finally approved, the revised ECMAScript standard to be widely and fairly rapidly adopted by browsers.  In the meantime, this new specification is already having an impact.  For example, in IE8 both the native JSON and the DOM Prototypes features are based upon APIs defined in the ECMAScript Fifth Edition Specification.


 


Microsoft was deeply involved with the development of the ECMAScript, Fifth Edition specification with Pratap Lakshman and Allen Wirfs-Brock serving as project editors.  Within the context of Ecma we worked closely with colleagues from many organizations including Google, Mozilla, Yahoo!, Opera, and Apple to jointly craft a specification that should benefit the entire web development community. The release of the ECMAScript Fifth Edition Candidate Specification is an important step towards better browser interoperability using a more powerful version of JavaScript.  We are very pleased to have helped make it happen.


 


Allen Wirfs-Brock
Pratap Lakshman
Microsoft Representatives to ECMA TC-39
Co-project Editors, ECMAScript Fifth Edition Specification

Comments (20)

  1. TNO says:

    I hate to sound like a broken record here but the JScript blog has been disappointingly sparse lately in regards to the language. How will this affect client/server side JScript and what impact will this have on Managed JScript?

  2. Pete says:

    I agree with the comments above. I think it makes immense sense to hold off a final release of Managed JScript until the fifth spec is finalized, but the complete lack of transparency in the Managed JScript process has been a little disconcerting. When Managed JScript was announced it was promising, but IronPython and IronRuby have completly eclipsed it. Whether in the DLR for Silverlight or ASP.Net futures, Managed JSCript has been intentionally hidden, which is a shame.

  3. The candidate specification of the ECMAScript language standard – known as ECMA-262, was published on

  4. IEBlog says:

    Yesterday was a significant milestone in the web’s continuing evolution—the announcement of ECMAScript,

  5. I presume that how CSS in IE8 got the bulk of attention from the IE team that JScript in IE9 will be getting a massive overhaul?

    Granted there have been some reasonable additions and improvements to the JScript engine in IE7 and IE8. Then there is the issue of SVG support…how will adding it (and it has to be added) weigh against how much improvement will be made to the JScript engine in IE9?

    SVG support in various browsers…

    http://www.codedread.com/svg-support.php

    Right now the most important thing I need is importNode support which I’m having to rely on a hack for. IE9 related JScript announcements are pretty much in my top ten list of things I’m looking forward to this year, please don’t disappoint. 😉

  6. Mitch 74 says:

    @JAB3: as far as I know, Jscript and IE are actually independent modules – meaning that a single version of Jscript can run with several IE builds (for example, IE5, 6 and 7 could use the same Jscript 5.6 interpreter, eventhough they didn’t all come with tht ne). The largest source of contention between the two would actually be how Jscript works with a browser’s DOM model. And if my tests are any indication, the IE 8 DOM model has seen some tweaks (in Edge mode at least) that seem to hint at tighter controls.

    In short, there could be a Jscript update in IE even before IE9 is out.

  7. A Major Milestone in JavaScript Standardization Das ECMA hat die 5. Auflage der ECMA-Script-Spezifikation veröffentlicht, die die Grundlage für JavaScript und ActionScript darstellt. Herunterzuladen unter: ECMAScript Language Mögen die Standards ein

  8. With IE8 out the door now, we can start to look ahead to what we need to do next. It’s too early for us to say anything concrete, but things like standards, performance, and compatibility weigh heavily in our minds. As our plans begin to take shape, we’ll update this blog.

    John, GPM, JScript

  9. That the browser makers will quickly incorporate the new standard, I agree. But until the new standard becomes Standard on user’s browsers we are looking at a few years of good ol’ cross-browser coding. How long until it’s safe to use the new language features?

  10. Adoption varies by browser. In my opinion (I have no scientific evidence for this, just general observation of how long things take before they reach critical mass): once the standard is ratified (which I think is likely this winter) you’ll probably see all the various features and changes get into browsers and onto users’ desktops over the course of 18-24 months.

  11. Анонсирована пятая редакция спецификаций ECMAScript На днях состоялось значительное событие в истории

  12. JScript Blog says:

    With Internet Explorer 8 we introduced several new JScript language features including native JSON support

  13. phil says:

    wow – DOM Prototyping!… that’s like so FIVE years ago!  Thanks for finally, almost catching up to the rest of the modern browsers out there.

    If you can get the millions of users off IE6/IE7 so that we can actually have a usable browser, then we can talk about being happy.

  14. Ilse says:

    When will this revised ECMAScript specification be released for public review and testing in anticipation of final standardization? Anyone has some more info? Thanks Ilse

  15. Is there any update one can give on the last comment of Ilse? This is info I am also looking for?

  16. I agree with the comments above. I think it makes immense sense to hold off a final release of Managed JScript until the fifth spec is finalized, but the complete lack of transparency in the Managed JScript process has been a little disconcerting. When Managed JScript was announced it was promising, but IronPython and IronRuby have completly eclipsed it. Whether in the DLR for Silverlight or ASP.Net futures, Managed JSCript has been intentionally hidden, which is a shame

  17. izdelava spletnih strani says:

    I’m happy that there’s such a thing like standardization of scripts, software and protocols. I wish the same thing could be done in web browsing, cos there are 4 mayor browsers and each has a slightly different protocol.

  18. Parkeren Schiphol says:

    JavaScript is growing more and more thanks to Jquery and the other frameworks

  19. Sunil Bhardwaj says:

    If you are looking for good beginner tutorial of  JavaScript, then may be http://bay-six.blogspot.in may be helpful