JavaScript: Your New Overlord

Posted on Aug 9, 2012 (2 years ago). Seen 2,388 times. One comment. Permalink Feed
Photo Rob Nikzad
Digital Producer
Member since Nov 22, 2011
Stream Posts: 123
In this keynote presentation at JAXConf 2012, Douglas "The JavaScript Guy" Crockford asserts that JavaScript has become the most important programming language in the world.
"The first time I saw JavaScript in 1995 I thought this is the stupidest thing I've ever seen. I said that. And I was pretty confident that I was right. ... In looking deeply at it I discovered it's got lambdas in it! Suddenly all this potential opened up."
This post is part of JAX Conference 2012 Videos.


Posted on Aug 31, 2012
Photo Franklin Chen
Carnegie Mellon University
Member since Aug 27, 2012
Location: Pittsburgh
I do believe the primary virtue of JavaScript is that it has first-class functions with lexical scope, and that Scheme in the 1970s was an ancestor of JavaScript, but I just wanted to note that JavaScript was not the first language with Algol-like (non-Lisp-parenthesized) syntax with this language feature. (I'll admit that it's probably the first very popular language with this feature.)

All the variants of ML, developed in the 1970s and 1980s, always had first-class functions, without the Lisp syntax.

Perl took on lexical closures sometime in the early 1990s. I remember writing Perl as though it were Scheme. (And using goto in Perl gives tail call optimization.)

Also, in the early 1990s, I remember wondering whether Apple's Dylan language was going to take off (then Java came on the scene and Apple killed off Dylan). Dylan was basically Scheme with objects, and with an Algol-like syntax. Dylan had first-class functions. A world in which neither Java nor JavaScript made it big, but Dylan did, would have been interesting. Dylan, like Scheme, mandated tail call optimization as part of the language.