The JavaScript EcosystemJavaScript started out as a simple extension for the browser but has become so much more. In part this is true on building on rich concepts going back to Lisp. Along the way it has challenged the givens of programming and given us a high-performance flexible language along with rich libraries and rich tools. We're just beginning to discover the possibilities. (Also on CirlceID)23-Oct-2020Version 2: 2021-08-13 20:57:45

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I’m excited about the JavaScript ecosystem. The success of JavaScript is surprising. After all, the language was originally designed in 10 days and had many warts in its initial implementation. But it was built on deep computer science principles going back to one of the seminal ideas in software – the Lisp language. Lisp represented a major departure from the idea of computers as very high-performance calculators. It manipulated symbols rather than numbers and took the idea of stored programmed computing to the next step by allowing the program to operate upon itself.

Lisp was eclipsed by mainstream programming languages in the 1960ords because the machines of the day were very expensive and had limited resources. Thus, the focus was on calculation and efficiency. The limited capacity of the machines meant that programs had to be extremely preprocessed to fit into the computers. Thus, they were precompiled into the machines’ low-level language and only those portions of the program that were necessary were loaded into the computer.

As part of this, the idea of strong typing was considered necessary so that the compiler would generate the appropriate instruction for integer or floating-point addition. I was reminded of this in 1970 when I was looking for a topic for my bachelor’s thesis and I was discouraged from writing a language based on dynamic typing because it couldn’t be efficient for complex structures since it would have to revisit the type information for each element and sub-element again and again.

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