[TLUG]: ECMAScript ("Javascript") Version 4 - FALSE ALARM

Jeff Dyer jodyer at adobe.com
Sat Oct 27 11:43:47 PDT 2007

On 10/27/07 10:17 AM, Mark Miller wrote:

> On 10/27/07, Scott Elcomb <psema4 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>> From: Walter Dnes <waltdnes at waltdnes.org>
>> On Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 04:04:52PM -0400, Scott Elcomb wrote
>>   Not so fast.  See the note on Slashdot Firehose at
>> http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=350409
>>   Since it's not too long, I'll quote it in its entirety...
>>> "[...] This seems a little `cloak
>>> and dagger` of those running the site, who desire serious changes
>>> and are unfortunately Mozilla, Adobe, and others. The concerned
>>> individual suggested that they simply create a new language with a
>>> new name, as there are that many fundamental differences. Many of
>>> us are very concerned that the language we love is being rewritten
>>> under our feet."
> I was not at the Ajax Experience conference, but I just spent the last
> week at OOPSLA. Everyone at OOPSLA I ran into who knows about the ES4
> proposal hates it. The general sense is that they think it's a train
> wreck. But there's a feeling of resignation: Yet another runaway
> standards process to oppress us. The people expressing this opinion
> include some extremely good programming language folks with great
> track records and reputations.
> I have only skimmed the proposed ES4 spec, so I can't yet venture an
> informed opinion. However, as a language designer myself, my initial
> sense of smell corroborates the consensus I saw at OOPSLA.
> I did raise with people the notion that the new larger language be
> given a different name. One reason that C managed to stay small is
> that all those who wanted to grow it self-selected to grow C++
> instead. Likewise, the existence of Common Lisp probably helped
> protect the smallness of Scheme. Everyone I mentioned this to thought
> this name change would be a good idea, and would help protect the
> continued evolution of the language we now call Javascript, i.e.,
> EcmaScript 262 Edition 3. Whatever its flaws or virtues might be, the
> ES4 proposal is simply a very different language. Please let's be
> honest about that and change its name.


Thanks for this news from the street. Although, I'm not sure what it means
that "everyone...hates" ES4. Can you be more specific?

And, I'd be curious to know what evidence is given that the standard's
process is "running away". There are detailed notes of the working group
meetings since late 2005 when work on ES4 was restarted. They are posted at:


Brendan an others have clearly articulated the need for the language to
evolve. And yet all we hear in response are the hollow generalizations such
as are above. People's track records and reputations don't mean much if they
are unnamed and uninformed.

In the hallway in an OOPSLA in late 90's the inventor of Self made the
remark to me [paraphrased, of course], "I don't know much about JavaScript,
but I haven't heard many good things about it". I have spoken with that same
person recently and he said "JavaScript is a pretty interesting language...I
be interested in working on it." The point is that knowledge and experience
changes perspective.

Do you really believe that ES4 is a train wreck? I'd like to hear back from
you after you have a chance to do some homework.


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