Microsoft, Mozilla Disagree Over JavaScript's Future

Mozilla and Microsoft are in the midst of a squabble over the future of JavaScript, with each side accusing the other of actions which could end up "breaking the Web."

The two companies each have their own respective versions of the common programming language that is used across the web: Mozilla backs ECMAScript, while Microsoft pushes its own JScript.

Much of the battle has been between Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich -- the creator of JavaScript -- and Microsoft Internet Explorer platform architect Chris Wilson. The two have traded barbs through their blogs over the past week.

Wilson started the tiff by suggesting that the next version of ECMAScript, version 4, may be too much of a change to the language itself to continue it as "JavaScript." Instead, he suggested that a completely new language be developed, because so much of the structure of the language would be changed.

"We could continue supporting existing users as well as freeing the new language from constraints (including the constraint of [permanently] supporting scripts written in the old language)," he wrote on Wednesday.

He continued this in his own personal blog on Thursday, adding that Microsoft has attempted to work with the ECMA committee, but Microsoft's concerns were being ignored, and ES4 development had turned into a "yes or no battle."

"I also think it's a shame that the response to any dissent has equated to shouting the dissenters down. The string of blog posts over the last week, and the immediate and somewhat incendiary comments from ES4 proponents, has been a good example of that," he wrote.

Eich nearly immediately took issue with Wilson's comments, accusing Wilson of spreading "falsehoods." He argued that everything that ECMA had done with ES4 had been done in the open, and Microsoft has had a chance to speak up, but had stayed mostly silent.

"At best, we have a fundamental conflict of visions and technical values between the majority and the minority," Eich wrote.

He also accused Microsoft of leaving JScript stagnant once it had gained dominance in the browser industry, and that the Redmond company's "bugs to fix ... should not stall ES4 for one second."

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