The World’s Most Misunderstood Programming Language

…has become the world’s most popular programming language.

This is the story of JavaScript

Most languages die in obscurity. Only a few are able to build a following beyond a single project or company. And only a very small number of languages become important.

There are many things that a programmer must consider when selecting a program language, unless that programmer is writing for web browsers where the only choice currently is JavaScript.

So how did a language with such obvious deficiencies become the Sole Programming Language of the Web? There is no standard that says that a web browser must implement JavaScript; JavaScript is the only language implemented in all popular web browsers. There was no careful review of the language or its problem domain. There was no review of its suitability or the soundness of its design. It was slapped together at Netscape, and then copied elsewhere. Given the process that created JavaScript and made it a de facto standard, we deserve something far worse.

But despite JavaScript’s astonishing shortcomings, deep down, in its core, it got something very right. When you peel away the cruft, there is an expressive and powerful programming language there. Ajax has become popular because JavaScript works. And just like PHP, it works surprisingly well.

Douglas Crockford
The World’s Most Misunderstood Programming Language



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