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Testing time for updated Javascript standard

Improved web apps interop promised

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A "minimal but needed update" to ECMAScript, also known as Javascript, has been ratified by standards chiefs who have promised greater consistency between browsers.

ECMA-262 edition 5.1 packs a number of "editorial corrections" and bug fixes that it promised will make ECMA-262 edition "easier" and allow for better interoperability among web applications. It updates edition 5, approved in December 2009 and ratified by the ISO, IEC and ECMA International.

To help further on the interoperability front, ECMA has promised it will also publish – for the first time – a standardized test suite so developers can see just how far implementations of ECMAscript adhere to the official standard.

The suite is being worked on by ECMA Technical Committee 39, whose members include Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla. The suite will be delivered in installments, with the first version planned for December and updates coming later.

JavaScript was created by Mozilla's current chief technology officer, Brendan Eich, in 1995, with the first edition of standard published two-years later. In a statement marking the updated standard, Eich said it creates a "solid base" for the evolution of Javascript "by delivering crucial functionality such as strict mode and the Object Meta-Programming APIs."

Today, Javascript is supported by all the major browsers, and there's an intense competition between them to see who can run Javascript the fastest. This has come as the trend for building apps has moved from client/server to web/cloud-client, where apps execute in the browser.

It should therefore come as little surprise that Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla have become keenly interested in making sure their browsers run Javascript with as few problems as possible, in case this puts Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox out of contention among web developers. ®

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