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Chapter Three. The Trouble with Standards > Standardized Scripting at Long Last

Standardized Scripting at Long Last

Eventually, ECMA ratified a standard version of JavaScript that they modestly called ECMAScript (www.ecma.ch/ecma1/STAND/ECMA-262.HTM). In time, the W3C issued a standard DOM. Ultimately, Netscape and Microsoft supported both—but not before years of hellish incompatibility had turned many developers into experts at proprietary, incompatible scripting techniques and Object Models and persuaded many site owners that web development would always be a Balkanized affair. Hence, the “IE-only” site, the broken detection script, and in some cases the abandonment of web standards in favor of proprietary solutions like Flash.

By the way, if you wonder what ECMA stands for, don't bother trying to find out on the organization's hideous and confusing site [3.3]. For what it's worth, ECMA is the European Computer Manufacturers Association, and it's also a bona fide standards body, unlike the W3C, which labels the technologies it develops “recommendations” rather than “standards.” Confusing sites and bewildering labels are another reason standards have had difficulty achieving widespread acceptance on the modern web.


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