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MS, Mozilla Clashing Over JavaScript Update 521

Posted by Zonk
from the minor-frustration-of-the-titans dept.
jfruhlinger writes "JavaScript has become a crucial part of Websites built on AJAX underpinnings, which makes the upcoming revision to the ECMAScript standard crucial for the future of the Web. But in today's browser environment, no one vendor can impose an update path — which may set things up for a nasty conflict. A fight is being fought on blogs between Mozilla Chief Technology Officer (and creator of JavaScript) Brendan Eich, who wants to the new ECMAScript standard to be a radical upgrade, and Chris Wilson, architect of MS's IE team, who would rather keep JavaScript as is and put new functionality into a brand-new language."
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MS, Mozilla Clashing Over JavaScript Update

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:34PM (#21215385)
    But they got along so nicely the last time Microsoft [maebrussell.com] invited the Mozilla Developers [hesfes.co.uk] over for a trip to the factory [slashdot.org]!

    Oh, I hope this doesn't sour their play time together [slashdot.org]!
  • Re:Either way... (Score:4, Informative)

    by cromar (1103585) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:43PM (#21215525)
    ECMA International [ecma-international.org] is a group that writes standards.
  • Re:Either way... (Score:3, Informative)

    by sarathmenon (751376) <srm AT sarathmenon DOT com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:48PM (#21215619) Homepage Journal
    For once, someone at Microsoft gets the deal right. They should leave javascript as-is, and improvise XUL or whatever is the new buzzword. Tacking on updates to existing standards only creates ugly security loopholes, and all sort of weird hacks. Why, in the name of the lord, can't people learn from the mistakes that others have made?
  • by Kandenshi (832555) on Friday November 02, 2007 @02:50PM (#21215647)
    I know it's somewhat indicative of a tinfoil hat, but that's basically what I and many others do, using NoScript [mozilla.org].
    If I trust the website enough to run javascript, then I add it to my whitelist. I don't see the need for javascript on most of the pages I go to, and would rather not have my computer running unnecessary code. Seems to my totally uneducated POV that it'd slow my computer down if I have 20 tabs each running javascript stuff, when only 2 of them ACTUALLY need it. My RAM is precious to me. =(
  • Re:Either way... (Score:3, Informative)

    by zappepcs (820751) on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:12PM (#21215983) Journal
    Are you nucking futs? At what point in the history of MS have they done anything that was relatively useful to the end user if it was not Ultimately useful to MS in isolating end users from choice?

    Not because I just want to bash MS, but they earned this one fair and square.

    I'm not against a company wanting to innovate and improve their product in order to be the best in class, but that is not what MS is famous for. Their innovations have been purchased (nearly a 100 startups left to buy now) and they do not strive to be best in class with any kind of success (can I mention Vista here?). Even when a workable open standard is proffered up, MS has to do their own version in order to isolate end users from choice (can I get a hell yeah for ODF?). We 0nly have to look at the difference between standards based web browsers and IE to see that MS has no intention of doing anything that is actually good for the world unless it benefits MS (can I mention the bill and melinda foundation and OLPC?). MSIE was, and will continue to be a tool for MS to attempt to remain dominant on the desktop. By virtue of business mentality, it must also always be used to isolate the end user from choice. That is simply how big business in the US of A works.

    I believe that it's simple dumb luck that we don't have to buy tires from the manufacturer of the vehicle we own. Sure, there is more to it, but think about how valuable the car analogies really are. Do we really want Nissan or Ford or VW designing the roads? Your driving experience depends on your choice of vehicle, and choice of roads. If we all drive MS cars and truck, using MS tires, on MS designed roads... where will the choice be?
  • Re:Wishes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tarlus (1000874) on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:20PM (#21216107)
    Why? Is there a non-elitist reason to not use tables for a layout? I use tables because that's the one thing that'll work consistently between all the major browsers without having to spend several extra hours messing with the divs and underlying.
  • Re:Why not both? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mad.frog (525085) <.moc.knilknirc. .ta. .nevets.> on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:24PM (#21216159)
    The overview of the current ES4 proposal is here: http://www.ecmascript.org/es4/spec/overview.pdf [ecmascript.org]

    Go check it out and decide for yourself.
  • by Wylfing (144940) <brian AT wylfing DOT net> on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:29PM (#21216231) Homepage Journal

    And you are precisely echoing all of the lies that Brendan discredited in his post. There is absolutely nothing about ES4 that will break ES3. Nothing. Yet you (probably quite knowingly) propagate the falsehood that it will.

  • by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Friday November 02, 2007 @03:55PM (#21216597)
    Are you trying to tell me that the addition of new reserved words to a language is a "small" change? [(ee the ES4 overview for details [ecmascript.org].) Particularly when those reserved words are common terms like "cast"? Sorry, but that's major breakage, and not a small matter. If the default were to behave exactly as ES3 or ES4 interim, and the new restrictions only applied then, it might be a justifiable change -- but that is explicitly not what the overview says.

    Sorry, but this is BS.
  • by Briareos (21163) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:46PM (#21218067)

    If the default were to behave exactly as ES3 or ES4 interim, and the new restrictions only applied then, it might be a justifiable change -- but that is explicitly not what the overview says.
    I don't know which overview you've been reading, but mine says this:

    III. Compatibility
    [...]
    Syntax
    Some identifiers that were legal names in ES3 (let, yield, cast, is, and a few more) are keywords in ES4. Other keywords in ES4 were future reserved words in ES3, and correct ES3 programs do not use them (class, interface, public, private, and many others), though some implementations allow them to be used as names. Sometimes the new keywords are contextual and can continue to be used as names, but in general an ES4 implementation that must be able to process all ES3 programs must be told which dialect--ES3 or ES4--it is looking at, so that it knows whether to treat these identifiers as keywords or not.

    The mechanism that supplies the dialect information will depend on the environment. In a web browser the information comes from the MIME type of the script or from a version parameter on the SCRIPT tag in the document. New web pages that choose to use ES4 will have to specify the dialect.
    So unless you specify that some script block is actually version 4 ES4 interpreters are supposed to treat it as version 3 code.

    np: Savath & Savalas - Tormenta De La Flor (Golden Pollen)
  • by protohiro1 (590732) on Friday November 02, 2007 @06:40PM (#21218677) Homepage Journal
    As you noted, your issues are with the DOM apis, not the language. ES4 solves NONE of these problems and instead focuses on make JS more like Java. What benefit do we get from ES4? Its slightly easier to develop in? Yay, but that certainly doesn't do anything about the real issues: * Same origin security is broken and just makes it hard to develop mashup style aps * JS/DOM as implemented now is inherently insecure * Event listeners and dom interaction is memory hungry and slow * Regex implementation sucks * No good vector support (canvas tag may solve this) * No native JSON and many more... And it instead bloats the language, will slow down the runtime, increase the size of scripts and essentially waste everyones time.
  • by diogenesx (580716) <kyle.m.hallNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @07:35PM (#21219345)
    You seem to be under the impression that JavaScript has some relationship to Java. It doesn't.

    From the Wikipedia Javascript page:
    "Despite the name, JavaScript is essentially unrelated to the Java programming language; though both have a common debt to C syntax. The language was renamed from LiveScript in a co-marketing deal between Netscape and Sun in exchange for Netscape bundling Sun's Java runtime with their browser, which was dominant at the time. The key design principles within JavaScript are inherited from the Self programming language."

    Yes, I'm too lazy to find a better source.
  • Re:MOD PARENT TROLL (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday November 02, 2007 @08:20PM (#21219803)
    Have you ever, honestly, been to a website that freezes Firefox?

    Yes, I have. There's a dating/forums site called plentyoffish that regularly freezes Firefox for me (at least as of 2.0.0.8). Sometimes the browser recovers quickly, sometimes it recovers slowly, sometimes I give up waiting and kill it.
  • Re:Either way... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Friday November 02, 2007 @08:22PM (#21219813)
    Let me preface this by saying I use firefox as my primary browser at home, and my primary environment for web design at work, the speed of rendering plus the time things like firebug save me in debugging the oddities of javascript are just amazing and blow anything IE 6 has to offer out of the water(I've used IE 7 a bit, but we're not ready to roll that out corporate wide yet so while I check things with it I write for IE6 and Firefox).

    There are some issues I have with the fact that there's no simple way for users to set trusted zone and Firefox security tends to throw the baby out with the bath water as far as security goes(no modal windows, no clipboard modification etc, I know why this is the case, but sometimes folks like me have legitimate reasons for these sorts of things). I'm also a bit annoyed with the whole "we'll fix it in 3.0" thing that's going on right now, but that's another story.

    This all sounds like a wonderful story for the Mozilla corp, but it's not. While the bundling didn't help, Netscape got beaten by IE because IE was better. It's not now, but that's mostly because Microsoft have been slack bastards and sat on it for years.

    I remember the browser wars well. I wasn't on the web for mosaic, but I was on for the browser wars. I know that having bundled IE got a lot of people on the net who wouldn't have otherwise gotten there, and I know that Netscape got bundled by ISPs for a while too. Netscape 4 was a great browser, it was better than IE 4, when I had to choose between those two, I used Netscape. However, Netscape 4 wasn't better than IE 5, and by extension it wasn't better than IE 6.

    After Netscape 4 there was pretty much nothing for a number of years. Netscape 6 was an abomination, an unfinished rendering agent(gecko is great now but it wasn't done then). Opera was and is a great browser, probably the greatest browser of that time(might still be haven't played with it in a while) most of the innovations of the new era of browsers came from Opera, but it never caught on. Partly that was because in order to be faster it gave up on all the terrible web kludges and large chucks of the web in those days was terrible kludges. It could also be its linux reliance on QT which was bad back then, or the cost, who knows. You want to find a case for why a good browser failed, look at Opera, but back then Netscape wasn't in it and Mozilla wasn't done.

    As for the reason why there are standards out there that nobody complies with, it's because the standards suck.

  • Re:Either way... (Score:2, Informative)

    by fmarkham (1091529) on Friday November 02, 2007 @09:13PM (#21220195)
    Two counter examples come to mind:
    The abominable <marquee> is a microsoft invention, while <abbr> is still not supported by IE7.

    I'm sure there are plenty more out there.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday November 03, 2007 @01:41AM (#21221683) Journal
    Go read some Douglas Crockford.

    Javascript is about as powerful as Lisp or Ruby, and certainly no less powerful than Python.

    If it's the syntax that's bugging you, write a preprocessor and shut up.
  • Re:Either way... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Maxmin (921568) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @12:22AM (#21250773)

    Read the ECMA script spec sometime. The portion on this issue is horrible.

    No doubt. I printed a copy so I could read it on the train... schlepped it to work/to home for two weeks... what a waste.

    Then I found something far better... a CPAN project that implements a Javascript parser, using a YACC-like, Javascript 1.5 compliant syntax definition. Sweeet!!

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