JavaScript Overview

JavaScript is a scripting language, originally developed by Brendan Eich at Netscape, that was designed to make it easy for programmers to add interactivity to web pages. Both Java and JavaScript have a C-like syntax, though the similarities mostly end there. This page serves as an unofficial repository of information for people interested in the language and its applications.

Mailing List

The JavaScript Mailing List is a general discussion list devoted to the JavaScript language, its applications, frameworks, warts, and beauty marks. Beginners and gurus are both welcome here.

You can join by sending a 'subscribe' message to or you can sign up through the web interface.

The Fate of the Original List

The original JavaScript mailing list on Obscure existed from December 30, 1995 to March of 1996. In that short time, it grew to over 1200 subscribers. On June 11, 1996, due to a lack of volunteers for mail reflector nodes, the list was shut down. At the time The Obscure Organization had only a 28.8Kbps PPP connection to the Internet. The whole site ran on a single 486 with 32MB of RAM and the bandwidth required to send the messages to everyone overwhelmed the link.

The list had moved, with different moderators, to, but it died there long ago.

As of April 9, 2015 has a 75Mbps fiber connection to the Internet, and has vastly more computing power and bandwidth to spare. It is time to reincarnate the list!

Once upon a time there was a lament on this page: sic transit gloria mundi. Now nihil novi sub sole seems more appropriate!

List Archives

See the list archives for messages posted in 2015 or after.

Historic Archives

See the index by thread or by chronological order.

Historic Raw Archive Files

Ancient history

Now that 20 years have passed, taking a look back at some of the early days really reveals some of the reasons why people initially rejected JavaScript, but have ultimately embraced it. Many early demos consisted of head-scratching browser toys and kitten-weak integrations with Java applets, but the language that Douglas Crockford calls "The first mainstream lambda language" always had the potential for greatness.

The original canonical JavaScript page was Netscape's (rather sparse) Javascript page. Historians and JavaScript oldsters should also check out the original JavaScript press release. It's funny to see Sun desperately trying to spin some Java-related hype into the mix and confusing people for years to come.

The Gamelan JavaScript page was a representation of the kitchen sink full of dirty water that proliferated in the early days of JavaScript. [Back then I didn't know any better, and originally characterized the Gamelan page as having "lots of useful JavaScript material." Urp. - Richard]

In the early days, Andy Augustine maintained a JavaScript FAQ. The original is long off the web, but Interec preserved a mirror! Now hosts this local mirror of the historical JavaScript FAQ. This is of historical interest both to show how far we've come, and to show how much enthusiasm people had for this when it first emerged.

The combination of the rise of the AJAX programming model and the steady advocacy of technologists including Crockford and John Resig turned the tide in favor of using the language in a broader array of projects.

JavaScript Resources

As Wikipedia states:

JavaScript is classified as a prototype-based scripting language with dynamic typing and first-class functions. This mix of features makes it a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.




Server Platforms

  • Node.js - the most popular server side asynchronous JavaScript platform, based on the V8 JavaScript engine from Google Chrome
  • IO.js - a community fork of Node.js, aiming for a more inclusive, faster development process
  • VertX - a polyglot server framework with JavaScript API support
  • Decaf.js - a server side synchronous JavaScript platform