JavaScript: the Assembly Language of the Web

There is further comment today by Nikhil Kotari in a blog post about the role of JavaScript in the flood tide of Web 2.0. For me, Nikhil was one of the stand-out speakers at my recent attendance at the Tech-Ed 2007 conference on the Gold Coast. For a year or more Nikhil has been developing Script# which is ‘compiled’ into JavaScript.

Nikhil describes JavaScript as “an amazingly flexible language that allows one to model multiple type systems and programming styles”, and it is he who also calls JavaScript “the assembly language of the web”. It must also be remembered that JavaScript is the ‘J’ in AJAX which is at the heart of virtually all Web 2.0 sites. I have already suggested to our School that JavaScript is also the ideal language to be taught to often-tentative beginning programming students.

Today Nikhil was commenting how his own thoughts about JavaScript and that of his Microsoft colleagues coincide with Joel Spolsky’s blog post about portable programming languages. Joel likens JavaScript’s emergence to C in the days (well remembered early 1970s for me) of Unix at Bell Labs. Of course ‘standard’ JavaScript has to run in the context of the HTML DOM in a browser. So sadly we have to contend with native Internet Explorer JavaScript and native Firefox JavaScript as the two DOMs are different. However translation from intermediate standard JavaScript to native JavaScript is quick and fast and can be done ‘on-the-fly’ as the script is loaded by the browser.

This all points to the rise and rise of the JavaScript language.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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