There is a huge confusion in the developer community whether JavaScript and ECMAScript are the different names for the same scripting language or not. There are a few who think JavaScript is actually a subset of ECMAScript and while others hold a different opinion. The truth is that JavaScript is a scripting language that has been formed by keeping ECMAScript specification at its core. ECMAScript is nothing but a standard or specification defined in order to create different scripting languages and one of them happens to be JavaScript. It has been created with the sole purpose of cross-browser compatibility.

Importance Of The Difference Between JavaScript and EMCAScript

Almost all the web browsers in the world execute the scripting languages that are based on ECMAScript. Since scripting languages like JavaScript are not just solely based on ECMAScript and has some of its own properties that are not defined by ECMAScript specification, websites or web applications build having those extra features may malfunction depending on web browsers’ compatibility with JavaScript and its unique features. In short, the understanding of the difference between JavaScript and ECMAScript is necessary for running a website comfortably on all browsers. The next time you hire freelancers to develop a website or web application, make sure they have a clear understanding of ECMAScript so that they can develop browser-independent websites and web applications.

Difference Between ECMAScript and JavaScript In Details –

Implementation – It is interesting to note that though JavaScript is based on ECMAScript specification now, but it is JavaScript that came into existence first. JavaScript was designed for Netscape Navigator browser. But soon after that, Microsoft released JScript for Internet Explorer and Jscript had everything JavaScript had and then there were certain additional features. Due to the conflict between JavaScript and JScript, JavaScript was given to Ecma International so that they can standardize the specification. That is how ECMAScript originated and both JavaScript and JScript had to follow the standard specified by ECMAScript as all the web browsers gave importance to implement ECMAScript instead of specific scripting languages like JScript or JavaScript.

Support – The reason for web browsers to give priority to ECMAScript is that it has all the basic functionalities and it keeps on updating from time to time to include all the new features that a scripting language must have. If web browsers give importance to one scripting language like JavaScript, in such a scenario, other scripting languages will or may run correctly as JavaScript is not a standard but a modified version of ECMAScript. But there is no denying the fact that JavaScript is the most popular scripting language based on ECMAScript and it has become an essential part of web development. That is why some web browsers have specific compatibility for all the common unique features JavaScript has to offer. Other than JavaScript and JScript, ActionScript is a rather popular scripting language that is based on ECMAScript. ECMAScript is like a core engine while JavaScript, JScript, ActionScript are 3 different cars. Instead of supporting individual cars, it is more beneficial for web browsers to support the engine so that all the three cars can run with basic and common features.

Development – It is important for you to hire freelancers who have equal knowledge of ECMAScript and JavaScript. The reason is that if you develop a web application of ECMAScript, it is going to run on all browsers as all browsers have ECMAScript compatibility. But you develop the same in JavaScript, it may or may not run on all browsers depending on whether the browser supports JavaScript or not and hence, the user experience will suffer.  Therefore, a web developer has to know ECMAScript as well as JavaScript and clearly differentiate the features that are exclusive to JavaScript because it is those features that can cause cross-browser incompatibility. If you are going to develop JavaScript-based application, you have to cut off those unique features and work on the common features that JavaScript shares with ECMAScript. If a person learns ECMAScript specification, he can develop a scripting language of his own. By learning JavaScript, one can only learn to use the scripting language.

Technical Difference – The unique features that JavaScript has in comparison to ECMA Script are ArrayBuffer creation, ShareMemory object creation and management, SIMD specification draft and Polyfill and Typed Objects draft. Furthermore, ECMAScript is used for client-side coding while JavaScript is fast becoming a server-side scripting language after the introduction of Node.js. Technically speaking, JavaScript is ECMAScript plus DOM API where DOM API helps in communicating with HTML and XML documents with the exclusive library functions like document.getElementById() and likewise.

Therefore, when you post freelance jobs to hire web developers, along with JavaScript knowledge with which your web application will be built, the freelancers need to have a core understanding of ECMAScript to make the application cross-browser compatible.

Kitty Gupta