Character Set

JavaScript programs are written using the Unicode character set. Unicode is a superset of ASCII and Latin-1 and supports virtually every written language currently used on the planet. ECMAScript 3 requires JavaScript implementations to support Unicode version 2.1 or later, and ECMAScript 5 requires implementations to support Unicode 3 or later. See the sidebar in Text for more about Unicode and JavaScript.

Case Sensitivity

JavaScript is a case-sensitive language. This means that language keywords, variables, function names, and other identifiers must always be typed with a consistent capitalization of letters. The while keyword, for example, must be typed “while,” not “While” or “WHILE.” Similarly, online, Online, OnLine, and ONLINE are four distinct variable names.

Note, however, that HTML is not case-sensitive (although XHTML is). Because of its close association with client-side JavaScript, this difference can be confusing. Many client-side JavaScript objects and properties have the same names as the HTML tags and attributes they represent. While these tags and attribute names can be typed in any case in HTML, in JavaScript they typically must be all lowercase. For example, the HTML onclick event handler attribute is sometimes specified as onClick in HTML, but it must be specified as onclick in JavaScript code (or in XHTML documents).

Whitespace, Line Breaks, and Format Control Characters

JavaScript ignores spaces that appear between tokens in programs. For the most ...

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