Going Deep

Allen Wirfs-Brock and Chris Wilson: EcmaScript, JavaScript and the Web

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ECMAScript is object-based: basic language and host facilities are provided by objects, and an ECMAScript program is a cluster of communicating objects. An ECMAScript object is a collection of properties each with zero or more attributes that determine how each property can be used—for example, when the Writable attribute for a property is set to false, any attempt by executed ECMAScript code to change the value of the property fails. Properties are containers that hold other objects, primitive values, or functions. A primitive value is a member of one of the following built-in types: Undefined, Null, Boolean, Number, and String; an object is a member of the remaining built-in type Object; and a function is a callable object. A function that is associated with an object via a property is a method. - Source = Ecma-262

IE9 beta was recently released
and it contains a new JS engine that is concurrent and fast. It also provides support for EcmaScript 5. What is EcmaScript 5? What's up with the naming covention? Isn't it just JavaScript? Wait a minute, there was no EcmaScript 4... What's going here? Well, not to worry. Chris Wilson and Allen Wirfs-Brock should be able to provide insights into the latest version of Java, er, EcmaScript. Allen sat on the governing body and was the chief editor for the official (and orange) specification. Let's just go talk to them. Ready? Tune in.

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    The Discussion

    • Moemeka

      will there ever be a new compiled language for the web?  One that all the browsers will understand?  I really wish that something else existed beyond javascript.

    • Moemeka

      I know javascript rules, but I just always feel like i'm stitching things together with it.

    • Charles

      I think the market has proven that JavaScript is the programming language of choice for client web development...

      IE9 and other modern browsers that run close to hardware are essentially very powerful client runtimes (or virtual machines...) for
      executing the web.

      There is no need for a new language. One of the great things about JavaScript is that it is a very   flexible language. You can efficiently and effectively compose programs with it and also use it as a compiler target, effectively making JavaScript both a productive human-compositional language and a flexible "machine language" or IL.

      The other thing is that JavaScript will continue to evolve (just like it has with EcmaScript 5). There's plenty of room for growth and this is a very good quality for a widely used programming language to have.

       

       

       

      C

    • Joel

      Fail. Requiring Silverlight to view the video? I mean, seriously? Progressive enhancement guys? By all means take silverlight if people have it, but given the near ubiquity of flash in the meantime while we wait for native video support - provide the fallbacks!!!

    • jeffsand

      , Joel wrote

      Fail. Requiring Silverlight to view the video? I mean, seriously? Progressive enhancement guys? By all means take silverlight if people have it, but given the near ubiquity of flash in the meantime while we wait for native video support - provide the fallbacks!!!

      We do have plans to adopt the HTML5 video tag for Channel 9. Stay tuned.

    • Allen

      http://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/Coffeehouse/Another-Microsoft-departure-Chris-Wilson-has-left-Microsoft-to-join-Google

    • Charles

      http://channel9.msdn.com/Forums/Coffeehouse/Another-Microsoft-departure-Chris-Wilson-has-left-Microsoft-to-join-Google

      People move on. Chris spent many years at MS and did great things for the web platform and IE. Of course, we wish him the best of luck in his new job. That said, this news takes nothing away from this interview. It was a great conversation full of very useful and accurate information...

      Best of luck, Chris!

      C

    • Charles

      , Joel wrote

      Fail. Requiring Silverlight to view the video? I mean, seriously? Progressive enhancement guys? By all means take silverlight if people have it, but given the near ubiquity of flash in the meantime while we wait for native video support - provide the fallbacks!!!

      We provide several formats for our videos already. You do NOT have to use SL unless you view the video in our player, which is a Silverlight media player...... Note the Download links on the upper right side of the player. Click on the MP4 link or the WMV link.

      C

    • exoteric

      Great interview. I bet Allen could have talked for several hours. It was a shame Chris didn't get to speak more but still, a great interview.

      I must say, however, just listening to Allen's description of EcmaScript 5, it doesn't sound like it has very powerful new features. I remember the impressive EcmaScript 4 language spec/proposal that Waldemar Horwat did for Mozilla; but will have to look at the new specs...

      The new browser war is fantastic - this time not about making proprietary extensions but about implementing as much as possible of what is already standard - and even before it's standard (less great but comittees are slow.)

      Users and Web programmers rejoice Smiley

    • Charles

      @exoteric: Allen can talk, as you noticed. I tried my best to just let him go. And... He did! Looking forward to listening to Allen again in the future.Unfortunately, this is Chris' last appearance on C9. Well, unless we add him to a panel or something in the future... Wink

      C

    • Cream​Filling512

      , Charles wrote

      One of the great things about JavaScript is that it is a very   flexible language. 

      This is also what makes it a terrible language.

    • Charles

      @CreamFilling512: I disagree.

      C

    • SteveRichter

      scoping of variables confuses me in javascript. Also locks and threading. No specific question, but I would like to know if ecma script 5 has changes in those areas.

      Actually, an actual question has to do wth a merging of jquery and javascript.  Assuming all the browsers implement the event model and the DOM w/o any differences, what do we need jquery for?  If just the selector syntax, then maybe roll that syntax into ecmascript.

      -Steve

       

       

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