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JS.Next: A Manager's Guide, 2nd Edition by Aaron Frost

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Chapter 2. ES6 Goals

When looking at what’s new in ES6, I have found it helpful to understand some of the history behind JavaScript.

History in the Making

July 2008 marked the beginning of change for ECMAScript. These changes were the result of years of hard work, deep thought, and discussion. Many brilliant minds spent years debating, and at times fighting over, what the next steps for ECMAScript should be. The Web had spent years growing organically and evolving. That growth and evolution had different meaning for many companies and individuals. Many stood to benefit significantly, if they could only make a few changes of their own to the ECMAScript specification. These biases made life difficult for the TC39, the committee in charge of steering the ECMAScript specification. None of the TC39 members could have predicted the challenges they would face as they attempted to advance ECMAScript, and by proxy, JavaScript.

As in many debates, all sides argued their honest opinions about what needed to be changed to further the language. Prior to July of 2008, many of these debates became heated, and very few saw much progress, if any. Due to these conflicts, the small group that initially endeavoured to fight for JavaScript inevitably broke down. Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, compared the history of the ECMAScript standardization committee to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. It is a story about a once strong group of friends who are ultimately divided into smaller ...

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