JavaScript / History

JavaScript and Its Evolution: A Historical Timeline

April 11, 20233 min read
Timeline on screen
Photo by Adrian Hernandez

JavaScript and Its Evolution: A Historical Timeline

This timeline showcases the major milestones in the development of JavaScript and the frameworks/libraries that have shaped modern web and mobile application development. Each step represents significant advances that have contributed to making JavaScript one of the most popular and versatile programming languages in the world today.

1995: JavaScript is Born

  • JavaScript (JS) is created by Brendan Eich at Netscape Communications Corporation. It was initially designed to make web pages alive with animations, interactive maps, and other dynamic features.

1997: ECMAScript Standardization

  • JavaScript is standardized by Ecma International as ECMAScript to ensure its consistency across different web browsers.

2009: Node.js

  • Node.js is introduced by Ryan Dahl. This allows JavaScript to be run on the server-side, outside a browser environment, which was a significant expansion of JavaScript's capabilities.

2010: Backbone.js

  • Backbone.js, one of the earliest JavaScript frameworks for building single-page applications (SPAs), is released, providing a basic structure for web applications.

2012: Introduction of TypeScript

  • Microsoft releases TypeScript, a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript. It is designed to develop large applications and transcompiles to JavaScript.

2013: React.js

  • React is released by Facebook. It introduces a powerful new approach to building user interfaces by using a virtual DOM and reactive data flows.

2015: ECMAScript 6 (ES6)

  • ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) is released, introducing classes, modules, arrow functions, and many other features that significantly change JavaScript programming.

2015: React Native

  • React Native is announced by Facebook, enabling developers to use React along with native platform capabilities to build mobile apps for iOS and Android using a single JavaScript codebase.

2016-2017: Modern JavaScript Frameworks Evolve

  • The ecosystem around modern JavaScript frameworks, including Vue.js and Angular 2+, continues to grow, further enhancing capabilities for front-end development.

2018: React Hooks

  • React introduces Hooks in version 16.8, allowing state and other React features to be used in functional components, which were previously only possible in class components.

2019: React Native 0.60

  • React Native 0.60 is released with autolinking for native dependencies, a new start screen, and CocoaPods integration by default for iOS, enhancing the developer experience and setup process.

2020: ECMAScript 2020 (ES11)

  • ECMAScript 2020 (ES11) is released, adding dynamic import, BigInt, Promise.allSettled, globalThis, and other useful features.

2021: React 17

  • React 17 is released, focusing not on features but on making it easier to upgrade React itself and better support for new toolchains.

2021-2022: React Native New Architecture

  • React Native New Architecture details start to emerge, aimed at revamping the core of React Native to make it more performant and maintainable. Key components of this architecture include the new JSI (JavaScript Interface), Fabric renderer, and TurboModules.

2023: Ongoing Developments

  • React Native continues to evolve, focusing on performance improvements, better developer experience, and alignment with modern JavaScript and React features.