The Mosaic web browser was developed in 1993, becoming the first browser with a graphical user interface (GUI), making it a user-friendly browser. Mosaic had the internal codename of “Mozilla” – sounds familiar, right? It combined the names “Mosaic” and “Godzilla.”
Mosaic’s lead developers later founded the Netscape corporation, which released the more refined browser, Netscape Navigator, in 1994. For a time, Netscape Navigator was the most widely used browser and enjoyed market dominance.
Even so, web pages at that time were static, lacking the capability to have dynamic behavior once the page loaded in the browser. Remember, this was during the early years of the Web. Netscape knew that it had to introduce new features to retain its dominance, and its web browser needed to move beyond static displays and run real interactive software.
In 1995, Netscape decided to introduce a new scripting language to their Navigator. They sought the services of Sun Microsystems to embed the Java programming language and hired Brendan Eich to embed the Scheme language. Initially, Eich joined the Netscape team with the intention to put Scheme “in the browser.” However, the company’s big bosses decided that the best option for him was to create a new language – a syntax similar to Java but less similar to Scheme or other scripting languages. Eich developed the new scripting language in only ten days – the stuff that has become lore in the tech world.
However, JScript was more than just the name. It slightly differed in terms of implementation, especially with regards to DOM functions, which caused ripples that would still be felt many years from then. The first version of JScript was officially released together with Internet Explorer 3.0 in August 1996.
Microsoft joined the standards process and implemented some proposals in its JScript language. But it eventually scrapped its collaboration with ECMA, leading the fourth edition of the ECMAScript to be shelved.
New competitors stepped in – for instance, Mozilla joined the fray with its Firefox browser, which eventually gained a significant share in the browsers market.