The Future of JavaScript

Gabriele Renzi has a good post on the future of JavaScript:  “ECMAScript 4, the fourth system syndrome“.  The concept of a “fourth system syndrome” is a good one, particularly so for programming languages.  For mature programming languages, thoughtful evolution is the rule.  A revolution is best done with an entirely new language, as this serves two very important purposes:  (1) supporting existing users, many of whom presumably like the existing language, by evolving it in parallel, and (2) freeing the new language from the constraints of the old one.

This leads to a kind of punctuated equilibrium, where there are significant periods of steady evolution in existing languages, punctuated by more rapid but discontinuous change driven by new languages.  The latter doesn’t happen very often, and it is interesting to look at history and consider the conditions or circumstances that favor the creation of new languages.

The ES4 proposal is publicly available.  Our JScript team is one of the participants in the ECMA working group, and is very interested in feedback from JavaScript developers on the future of the language.


Comments (5)

  1. rbirkby says:

    There are some serious things wrong with JavaScript. But a lot of the ES4 proposal goes in the right direction. My big concern about ES4 is it’s emphasis on performance – especially adding strong typing to get performance. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. JavaScript shouldn’t be about out-and-out performance. There are much better languages for this. And we all know how the sort of performance you can get out of a dynamically typed language with the work of the DLR team.

    The functional/C#/Pythonesque features of ES4 are great. The package/module system is great. The typing system is bad. By all means add a single new Number type which effectively is a Decimal so that 0.1+0.2===0.3.

  2. Re: my earlier post on the future of JavaScript, there is another interesting item today on Ajaxian:

  3. Thanks for your comments on ES4.

    For what it’s worth, I am a big fan of decimal types.  It is amazing how slow programming languages have been to adopt them given the prevalence of currency in applications.


  4. Welcome to the thirty-fifth edition of Community Convergence. This week we have an interview with C#

  5. Ralph says:

    Strong types would be a great help to us as well as the significant speed improvements due to strong types.  Our main issues with JavaScript are speed, speed and user interactivity.