comp.lang.javascript: JavaScript vs. javascript

Posted: August 13, 2010 in David Mark, JavaScript
Tags: , ,

It’s Friday. The last day of the work week for JavaScript programmer with jobs. And the last day of the school week for JavaScript kiddies. This is the right time to learn something about JavaScript.

Lesson one: Do you know the distinguish between “JavaScript” and “javascript”?

RobG said:

[…] JavaScript, the trade mark, and the generic term “javascript” used to describe ECMAScript implementations that interact with DOMs, mostly in browsers.

Thomas ‘PointedEars’ Lahn replied:

The term “javascript” is the invention of a wannabe here that failed to see the differences between the many implementations, and fell into common use because of other wannabes here that failed to or did not want to see them.

Richard Cornford posted an answer with the word JavaScript

capitalised into the trademark name, for any pedants reading

And VK said:

I calling police if it’s called anyhow else but JavaScript 😉 😐

JavaScript programmer David Mark explained:

JavaScript is a trademarked brand name that refers to just one ECMAScript implementations. It would be better to refer to it as “Javascript“, “javascript” or simply “JS“. And no, I don’t mean for legal reasons.

And some weeks later David Mark replied to a user:

Javascript. The camel-case version is the brand name. Do you read this group at all or do you just post blindly?

Stefan Weiss replied:

Oh I’m so sick and tired of this. Everybody outside of this group calls it JavaScript, except when they’re trying hard to avoid trademark issues (as in “JScript”). Capitalization doesn’t matter at all where trademarks are concerned: “javascript” is just as protected as “JavaScript”. More importantly, the name has been used in a generic way for a *long* time – just like “Kleenex” or “Xerox”. It’s no longer obvious that the trademark can even be legally enforced anymore: you lose your exclusive right to a trademark if you don’t actively try to prevent unauthorized use, allowing it to become a generic term. To my knowledge, no such dispute has ever been filed by Netscape, Sun, or Oracle.

Don’t get me wrong: in this group, we have a legitimate technical reason for distintuishing different implementations, but that can be achieved in a more efficient way than quibbling about capitalization. When somebody comes here and asks a question about JavaScript or javascript (without explicitly mentioning that they’re only targetting Mozilla browsers), everybody with half a brain knows what they’re talking about. Giving them the “there is no javascript” treatment is just unnecessary nerdy elitism.

I know this is futile. I’m not going to change any fixed attitudes here, but for the record: when I say JavaScript, I mean the superset of all ECMAScript-related languages. I’m using JavaScript as a pars pro toto, like most everybody else does. When I need to distinguish between different implementations, I’ll be more specific – either by using JavaScript(tm) or by writing “Mozilla’s JavaScript implementation” or similar.

Sorry about the rant, it kind of got out of hand. It wasn’t what I’d intended to write, but after reading the 500th “JavaScript is a brand name” message, I had enough. It’s just too silly and it takes up too much time in this group.

At Hacker News, “nzmsv” said in another context about comp.lang.javascript:

Wow! After reading these, and the replies, I definitely agree with John Resig about that newsgroup: don’t read. Or risk losing your hope for humanity.

Dear fans

How is your hope for humanity?

[1]: comp.lang.javascript
[2]: comp.lang.javascript
[3]: comp.lang.javascript
[4]: comp.lang.javascript
[5]: comp.lang.javascript
[6]: Hacker News

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by javascript: and javascript:, David Mark Fan. David Mark Fan said: comp.lang.javascript: JavaScript vs. javascript [#davidmark #javascript #jquery #dojo #yui #prototype #friday] […]

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