Mozilla and Microsoft Battle Over JavaScript

Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich, creator of the popular scripting language ECMAScript, better known as JavaScript, and Microsoft's Chris Wilson, platform architect of Microsoft's Internet Explorer platform team, are trading heated rhetoric over the proposed next version of the language. Microsoft, whose own version of JavaScript is called JScript, is quibbling with the ECMAScript Edition 4 effort, which is supported by Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser. "As I've frequently spoken about publicly, compatibility with the current web ecosystem -- not 'breaking the Web' -- is something we take very seriously," Wilson wrote on the Internet Explorer team blog this week. "In our opinion, a revolution in ECMAScript would be best done with an entirely new language so we could continue supporting existing users as well as freeing the new language from constraints."

Eich charged in turn that Microsoft's arguments are self-serving. "At best, we have a fundamental conflict of visions and technical values between the majority and the minority," he wrote. "However, the obvious conflict of interest between the standards-based web and proprietary platforms advanced by Microsoft, and the rationales for keeping the web's client-side programming language small while the proprietary platforms rapidly evolve support for large languages, does not help maintain the fiction that only clashing high-level philosophies are involved here."

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"compatibility with the current web ecosystem -- not 'breaking the Web' -- is something we take very seriously"

Oh yeah ? How about getting some basic math right when it comes to css in your POS product IE ??

Microsoft have no right to speak about 'breaking the web' and new standards until they do this. It's been how many years since CSS was released? Yet they still don't support this. A dotted underline under the <acronym> tag, is that too much to ask? My 2 year old CELLPHONE manages it just fine.

Until M$ can get 100% support for current technologies, they can't go crying for new ones.

They obviously can't handle them. It's in our best interest to say "NO" to them for this reason.

"compatibility with the current web ecosystem -- not 'breaking the Web' -- is something we take very seriously"

I hear CSS developers are very fond of Microsofts CSS compatibility

compatibility with the current web ecosystem -- not 'breaking the Web' -- is something we take very seriously

Yeah, that's why IE is the only browser that requires hacks to get things working...IE is the biggest thing holding back any developments in stuff like CSS etc because it's not updated enough. Sure, they fix security holes but what about fixing standards support?

while IE may not adhere to the so called "standards", by pure numbers you could just as easily say that it's the other browsers that don't abide by the IE standard :p

As for not updated enough, most people aren't like us tech, thy don't want to update their browser once a day. heck even I don't care overly much for it.

it's better to have fewer and bigger updats for standards support, it's not something you just add in a a bit now and a bit then.

HawkMan said,
As for not updated enough, most people aren't like us tech, thy don't want to update their browser once a day. heck even I don't care overly much for it.

it's better to have fewer and bigger updats for standards support, it's not something you just add in a a bit now and a bit then.

Ermm, we weren't talking about day by day stuff. There are web standards that have existed for several years now that IE doesn't support correctly. IE has gone through major version changes without adding the features that every other web browser supports. The reason why people prefer developing for other browsers is because there's a well defined set of guidelines you can use to shape your scripts, and if you follow those guidelines they will appear the same in all (compliant) browsers. Then you load it up in IE and it does whatever the ****.

This is badly needed. After working with some Javascript and Ajax stuff, nothing is more frustrating than having your code work on every browser with the exception of Internet Explorer which then requires you to come up with some incredibly horrible hack just so Internet Explorer will do what you want it to do. I would honestly just rather say "Internet Explorer not supported."

I generally don't have a problem getting IE and Firefox to play nicely together when it comes to JavaScript. Then again, I've been doing the cross-browser scripting thing for years.

With that being said, no browser is perfect. Could IE be better in ECMAScript support? Hell yes, but you could've said the same thing for Opera and Safari not too long ago.

As a developer, I can say... Microsoft's POV makes sense. An entirely new language is needed, for ECMAScript runs much client side stuff, and so any evolution must remain compatible with it... but ECMAScript is also a lame-o total hackjob. So evolving it as the Mozilla peeps suggest will not be able to fix its problems.

As the M$ guy said, a new standard would both preserve the existing infrastructure, and allow real revolution in this aspect of development.

Don’t just stick to the official line open-source people!

the question is: why cant they support both? i havent looked at the actual spec for the new language, but one expects that you could simply change the content type (type="text/ecmascript4.0") and load the new interpreter for that block.

radixvir said,
the question is: why cant they support both? i havent looked at the actual spec for the new language, but one expects that you could simply change the content type (type="text/ecmascript4.0" ) and load the new interpreter for that block.

Or you could just use an already existing and valid content-type ( "application/x-javascript" ) and watch IE cough on that instead. Nothing quite like a browser showing a download dialog for a script file (or even a plaintext file, try "text/plain")...