What is ECMAScript?

When reading about Javascript, you may come across the term ECMAScript. What is ECMAScript? ECMAScript is a standard for a scripting language, and the Javascript language is based on the ECMAScript standard.

Is Javascript exactly the same as ECMAScript?

No, Javascript is not exactly equivalent to ECMAScript. The core features of Javascript are based on the ECMAScript standard, but Javascript also has other additional features that are not in the ECMA specifications/standard.

Do other languages use the ECMAScript standard?

Yes, there are languages other than Javascript that also implement the ECMAScript Standard as their core. ActionScript (used by Adobe Flash) and JScript (used by Microsoft) are both languages that implement the ECMAScript standard. The best way to think of languages that implement the ECMAScript standard (including Javascript) is as dialects that all share the same “core” structure, but each language adds their own style and “tone” on top of the ECMAScript standard.

What is the latest version of ECMAScript?

ECMAScript version 5 was finished in December 2009, the latest versions of all major browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and IE) have implemented version 5. Version 5.1 was finished in June, 2011.

Why is it called ECMAScript?

Javascript was originally created at Netscape, and they wanted to standardize the language. So, they submitted the language to the European Computer Manufacturer’s Association (ECMA) for standardization. But, there were trademark issues with the name Javascript, and the standard became called ECMAScript, which is the name it holds today as well. Also because of trademark issues, Microsoft’s version of the language is called JScript – even though JScript is, at it’s core, the same language as Javascript.

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