Beginnings at Netscape
In 1993, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, released NCSA Mosaic, the first popular graphical Web browser, which played an important part in expanding the growth of the nascent World Wide Web. In 1994, a company called Mosaic Communications was founded in Mountain View, California and employed many of the original NCSA Mosaic authors to create Mosaic Netscape. However, it intentionally shared no code with NCSA Mosaic. The internal codename for the company’s browser was Mozilla, which stood for “Mosaic killer”, as the company’s goal was to displace NCSA Mosaic as the world’s number one web browser. The first version of the Web browser, Mosaic Netscape 0.9, was released in late 1994. Within four months it had already taken three-quarters of the browser market and became the main browser for Internet in the 1990s. To avoid trademark ownership problems with the NCSA, the browser was subsequently renamed Netscape Navigator in the same year, and the company took the name Netscape Communications.
Adoption by Microsoft
Alas, there was still turmoil between the various players; Douglas Crockford—then at Yahoo!—joined forces with Microsoft in 2007 to oppose ECMAScript 4, which led to the ECMAScript 3.1 effort. The development of ECMAScript 4 was never completed, but that work influenced subsequent versions.
In July 2008, the disparate parties on either side came together in Oslo. This led to the eventual agreement in early 2009 to rename ECMAScript 3.1 to ECMAScript 5 and drive the language forward using an agenda that is known as Harmony. ECMAScript 5 was finally released in December 2009.
In June 2011, ECMAScript 5.1 was released to fully align with the third edition of the ISO/IEC 16262 international standard. ECMAScript 2015 was released in June 2015. The current version is ECMAScript 2016, released in June 2016.