SPLASH 2011: Brendan Eich - JavaScript Today and Tomorrow

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Recently, Channel 9 was invited to attend the great SPLASH conference. What is SPLASH?  Systems, Programming, Languages and Applications: Software for Humanity.  SPLASH is an annual  conference that embraces all aspects of software  construction and  delivery, and that joins all factions of programming  technologies. Since 2010 SPLASH is the umbrella for OOPSLA and Onward!. This year it features a third technical track, Wavefront, designed to publish innovative work closely related to advanced development and production software. SPLASH takes on the notable track record of OOPSLA as a premier forum for software innovation, while broadening the scope of the conference  into new topics beyond objects and new forms of contributions. [source=SPLASHcon.org]

A big thanks to the SPLASH event organizers for inviting me and my camera to the event to engage some key computer scientists and engineers in geeky fun conversation! SPLASH is a great event! I learned a ton and met many amazing computer scientists and students.

Here, we meet Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and currently the CTO of the Mozilla Foundation. JavaScript is a very interesting language (it's general purpose, dynamic, quasi-functional, object oriented) and one that is widely used on the web (in fact, no other language comes close, really). Brendan wrote the first version of JavaScript to support both novice and advanced users (quite the challenge - but he pulled it off!). JavaScript is also widely used today as a compiler (or "transpiler") target, where JavaScript plays the role of a web assembly language. 

Today, JavaScript has matured into much more than a scripting language and is used in ways that Brendan never imagined (from Node.js to h264 video decoding to "Windows 8" Metro style applications...). In this conversation, we don't spend much time at all on the past. You can read all about that on Brendan's blog. Instead, we focus on the JavaScript of today and tomorrow. Thanks for spending time with Channel 9, Brendan!

Table of contents (courtesy of https://channel9.msdn.com/Niners/George_Curelet_Balan)

[00:50] Javascript as a mature evolving language (ref to Harmony agenda)

[01:30] reference to the module system

[02:00] Eich comments on Javascript improvements looking more like java

[03:38] Javascript as web assembly

[05:00] Javascript is still a language for beginners as it evolves?   Eich: the language should not grow too large

[06:03] a pattern tells you that there is a bug in the programming language

[06:18] ref to growing the language exemplified with English language single syllable words

[06:50] impact of removing Javascript bad parts

[08:20] Javascript as a functional language

[09:15] adding types to the language

[10:05] Javascript will never have mandatory types

[10:40] Comments about the Dart language

[11:40] Javascript as a compile target

[13:15] Dart as a warning language

[14:00] Javascript as the most popular language. Since Javascript runs the web (that has so many good parts) it is hard to replace it with something else. Javascript should evolve.

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      Heavens​Revenge

      http://techluminaries.com/2008/12/15/episode-1-brendan-eich/ Is another interview with Brendon which I consider one of his best, he is inspirational in this podcast I linked and if anyone wants a REALLY good listen I highly suggest it with a 10/10 rating. (Sorry Charles it's even better than this ATM and I'd even suggest you have a listen Tongue Out) Enjoy and I even wished I was hired by Mozilla/Microsoft to do some goodness like what he's done for our modern world.  

      Here's to hoping strict mode is supported in the final incarnations of WinRT!

    • User profile image
      felix9

      Oh you were at OOPSLA ! Great ! Who else did you talked to there ?

    • User profile image
      Charles

      @felix9: Don't you want to be surprised? Smiley

      Dave Thomas, Gilad Bracha, David Ungar, Mark Miller, William Cook, Kresten Thorup. More, too. Wink

      C

      PS: I'm also very happy to announce that I'll be at YOW! 2011 in Australia. So, for Aussie Niners, please try to come to one of these great dev events in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney!

      Thanks to Dave Thomas for the invitation to attend (with camera, of course). Channel 9 is honored to take part! Smiley

    • User profile image
      felix9

      Having those great non-microsoft people on C9 is VERY GOOD.

      that said, did you get Tim Harris and Rebecca Issacs to talk about AC, the async language extension for C++ ?

      http://www.barrelfish.org/barrelfish_oopsla11.pdf

      and, I think SugarJ is worth looking at since MS is doing Roslyn now

      http://splashcon.org/2011/program/oopsla-research-papers/273-oopsla-4-award-papers
      http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb12/ps/research/sugarj

      an update about Concurrent Revisions from Daan Leijen is welcomed, but I guess you can do that anytime since he is in Redmond, right ?

    • User profile image
      felix9

      oops, there is a broken link, the http://channel9.msdn.com/history should be http://splashcon.org/history/

    • User profile image
      Charles

      @felix9: Nope. Didn't get Tim Harris (in fact, nobody from Microsoft). I wanted to, though. Dammit! I can get Tim next time he's in Redmond. I prioritized the folks I generally don't have a chance to talk to (pretty much ever...).

      C

    • User profile image
      B3NT

      @Charles What and awesome interview. I work with soooo many people who would be little tyrants if they had done something that successful and used by so many other people. He seemed really very with it.

      Right on...or "Rock N Roll!"

       

    • User profile image
      vesuvius

      @Charles: Guy Steele would be a steal if every you get the opportunity again.

    • User profile image
      Charles

      @vesuvius: I agree. I did interview him once (with Anders) back in 2008 at JAOO. The topic of that conversation is still quite in vogue. Smiley Guy is great.
      C

      PS: But of course you know this as you were first to comment in that thread! Wink

    • User profile image
      George_​Curelet_​Balan

      A great, insightful and thought provoking interview about Javascript evolution!

      My bookmarked notes on the video in minute:seconds format follow:

      0:50 Javascript as a mature evolving language (ref to Harmony agenda)

      1:30 reference to the module system

      2:00 Eich comments on Javascript improvements looking more like java

      3:38 Javascript as web assembly

      5:00 Javascript is still a language for beginners as it evolves?   Eich: the language should not grow too large

      6:03 a pattern tells you that there is a bug in the programming language

      6:18 ref to growing the language exemplified with English language single syllable words

      6:50 impact of removing Javascript bad parts

      8:20 Javascript as a functional language

      9:15 adding types to the language

      10:05 Javascript will never have mandatory types

      10:40 Comments about the Dart language

      11:40 Javascript as a compile target

      13:15 Dart as a warning language

      14:00 Javascript as the most popular language. Since Javascript runs the web (that has so many good parts) it is hard to replace it with something else. Javascript should evolve.

    • User profile image
      Charles

      @George_Curelet_Balan: Thanks for the bookmarks! I'll turn them into links Smiley

      C

    • User profile image
      snowden

      wtb google + widget

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