It all starts in the 90s. The 90s were a pivotal time for the internet and it saw the rise of many new programming languages, browsers and technologies. The internet, as we know it today, began in the 90s.
In 1993, developer Marc Andreessen helped the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois to launch Mosaic: a user-friendly, graphical web browser. Then in 1994, Andreessen founded the private Mosaic Communications Corporation and published a commercial browser called Netscape Navigator.
Netscape Navigator was a hit!
On August 9th, 1995, only 8 months later, Netscape went public. Shares were offered at $28 apiece before Netscape’s Initial Public Offer. At the opening bell, the price shot up, and by the end of August 9, Netscape closed at $58.25 after reaching as high as $74.75 during the day. Netscape’s IPO had set new records.
Netscape was only a 16-month-old company and had yet to make a single dime in profits but it was now valued at nearly 3 billion dollars.
But trouble was on the horizon.
At this point, the internet was evolving into a multimedia universe and was becoming more and more popular in the mainstream. This brought on an onslaught of competition, mainly Microsoft. Soon Microsoft began to chip away at Netscape’s browser share with their own browser, Internet Explorer.
This led to what is now known as the first browser war.
Internet Explorer was still in development but Andreessen knew that Navigator would have to push new features to maintain dominance over Microsoft. He had the vision that the web needed a way to become more dynamic. That animations, automation and interaction should be part of the web.
In 1995 Netscape brokered a deal with another Microsoft competitor, Sun Microsystems, which was debuting a major programming language, Java.
While Java did borrow syntax from other languages, the compiled Java bytecode is portable, meaning it can run on different operating systems. This meant that a user with both Navigator and the Java Virtual Machine installed could execute Java programs as standalone “applets,” contained within the web page but still separated from it.
This delineation meant that there was still a need for a language to “glue” Java together with the major interactive parts of the client-side web.
The belief at the time was that Java was not suited for scripters, amateurs, designers etc. Java was “too big” for the role. The idea was to make Java available for big, professional, writers; while this other language would be used for small scripting tasks.
And so the idea of Mocha was born. Mocha was to become a scripting language for the web. Simple, dynamic, and accessible to non-developers. Mocha was meant to be the scripting companion for Java.
It was around this time that Brendan Eich came into the picture.
Eich was hired to develop a “scheme for the browser.”
Scheme is a Lisp dialect that comes with little syntactic weight. It is dynamic, powerful, and functional in nature.
Netscape also gave Eich the specification that whatever he came up with had to “look like Java.” And on top of all this he had a very tight deadline to deliver this new language.
At the moment there was a lot of pressure to come up with a working prototype as soon as possible. Java was starting to get traction. Sun Microsystems was making a push for it and Netscape Communications was about to close a deal with them to make Java available in the browser. So Eich had to work fast.
In a matter of weeks a working prototype was functional, and so it was integrated into Netscape Communicator.
This new language combined the superficialities and control structures from Java and core functional and object-oriented behavior from Scheme and Self.
ECMAScript did not see another major update until 2015, with ECMAScript6.
This time the committee had achieved unity. Still, ECMAScript6 was hard work and took almost 6 years to complete.
Angular was developed by Adam Abrons and Misko Hevery and released in 2010. It is an open-source framework targeted at single page applications. Angular was the first framework that provided a complete architecture for front-end application development. It is mainly maintained by Google.