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ECMAScript standardizes the language basics
The ECMAScript specification is aimed at specialists who develop a parser or interpreter. The descriptions are kept short and as formal as possible. The specification is incomprehensible to mere mortals, making it unsuitable as a practical reference. You can still read the official specification.
The DOM standardizes document access
On the other hand, a standardization of the access to the HTML document was necessary. Both Netscape and Microsoft invented their own DHTML models. DHTML stands for dynamic HTML. Both models, however, were limited, ill-conceived and, to top it all, incompatible with each other.
The World Wide Consortium (W3C), originally responsible for standardizing HTML and CSS, eventually came to the rescue. In cooperation with the browser manufacturers, the so-called Document Object Model (DOM) Developed. Today, parts of the DOM are maintained by another standardization group, the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG).
Overview of the DOM standards
- The Core DOM describes an object model that can be applied to documents in markup languages such as HTML and XML. The DOM does not only refer to HTML documents.
- The HTML DOM regulates special features and simplifications when accessing HTML documents.
- DOM events describes the processing of events (e.g. user input) in the document. (See Event Processing.)
- The CSS Object Model (CSSOM) enables access to the presentation of the document. CSS properties and central style sheet rules can be read and changed via this. (See Controlling the appearance of documents.)
The actual specifications are:
HTML 5 integrates various standards
The WHATWG gradually gained the support of various browser manufacturers and well-known web companies. In 2007 the W3C turned around and began developing HTML 5 based on the WHATWG draft. Finally, in 2014, the W3C officially adopted the HTML 5 standard.
The WHATWG continues as a body, so that HTML is currently being further developed by two groups and organizations. While the W3C publishes completed standards with version numbers (5, 5.1, 5.2 etc.), the WHATWG is working on a continuously updated specification without a version number.
Initially, drafts for ECMAScript Edition 4 were worked on. The aim was to fundamentally change the language. However, this conversion was postponed in favor of a small-scale expansion. The drafts for Edition 4 ended up in the drawer. To avoid misunderstandings, version number 4 was skipped. Work began on Edition 5, which was finally adopted in 2009.
ECMAScript 5 is a downward compatible further development of ECMAScript 3. The fifth edition mainly eliminates errors and ambiguities, but also comes up with some new features.
ECMAScript 6 takes a big step forward
The planned radical reorganization of the language was only postponed, not canceled. Work was carried out on a comprehensive extension of ECMAScripts under the code name »Harmony«.
Finally, in 2015 ECMAScript 6 adopted. Since then, a new ECMAScript edition has been published every year. Therefore, the language now bears the year number in addition to the issue number. The full title is therefore ECMAScript 2015, Edition 6.
ECMAScript 6 introduces several language capabilities that use a new syntax. As a result, ECMAScript 6 is no longer downward compatible. A browser that only knows ECMAScript 5 cannot process scripts with ECMAScript 6 techniques.
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