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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:05 PM
Taimur Tanwir Taimur Tanwir is offline
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Around 1992, a company called Nombas began developing an embedded scripting language
called C-minus-minus (Cmm for short). The idea behind Cmm was simple: a scripting language
powerful enough to replace macros, but still similar enough to C (and C++) that developers could learn
it quickly. This scripting language was packaged in a shareware product called CEnvi, which first
exposed the power of such languages to developers. Nombas eventually changed the name Cmm to
ScriptEase because the latter sounded “too negative” and the letter C “frightened people” (http://
www.nombas.com/us/scripting/history.htm). ScriptEase is now the driving force behind Nombas
products. When the popularity of Netscape Navigator started peaking, Nombas developed a version of
CEnvi that could be embedded into Web pages. These early experiments were called Espresso Pages, and
they represented the first client-side scripting language used on the World Wide Web. Little did Nombas
know that its ideas would become an important foundation for the Internet.
As Web surfing gained popularity, a gradual demand for client-side scripting languages developed. At
the time, most Internet users were connecting over a 28.8 kbps modem even though Web pages were
growing in size and complexity. Adding to users’ pain was the large number of round-trips to the server
required for simple form validation. Imagine filling out a form, clicking the Submit button, waiting 30
seconds for processing, and then being met with a message telling you that you forgot to complete a
required field. Netscape, at that time on the cutting edge of technological innovation, began seriously
considering the development of a client-side scripting language to handle simple processing.

When JavaScript first appeared in 1995, its main purpose was to handle some of the input validation
that had previously been left to server-side languages such as Perl. Prior to that time, a round
trip to the server was needed to determine if a required field had been left blank or an entered
value was invalid. Netscape Navigator sought to change that with the introduction of JavaScript.
The capability to handle some basic validation on the client was an exciting new feature at a time
when use of telephone modems (operating at 28.8 kbps) was widespread. Such slow speeds
turned every trip to the server into an exercise in patience.

Taimur Tanwir
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