I have to say, JavaScript has come a long way. For some reason, I was reminded of my first JavaScript based website today. Back in my day…Seriously though, this was twelve years ago. I designed a windowed system for my personal website and I was quite pleased with it.

It had a start menu at the bottom left of the browser. You would click on it and there would be a menu with links to my blog, pictures, resume, etc. The links though wouldn’t just open another window or change the website. It would create a floating div that you could resize, move, tile, etc. You could open the other links as well and you could have them all up, just like your modern desktop.

I thought I was the bee’s knees (someone please tell me where this comes from?!?!). I shared it with family and friends and actually started getting some traffic. Then, I started getting e-mails of this nature: “Why is your website blank?” I had made a fatal mistake. I designed my app solely with Firefox and 90% of the people who went there couldn’t use my page because they were using Internet Explorer which made its own decisions about what JavaScript should be (on a side note, I still get to use a 12 year old browser at work!) .

I was naive than, so I figured everyone else was a forward thinking as I was. Firefox was the new cool browser that did sweet things. The web became bearable with Firefox! It never caught on though. Even when I put a warning on my website telling people the site only works with Firefox and gave them a link to it, I continued to get e-mails.

So, here we are today, and by some accounts, JavaScript is one of the top five languages in the world. MongoDB uses JavaScript for querying and JSON (i.e. JavaScript) as its document-oriented storage format. Node.js is a powerful platform for network services and more that uses JavaScript as its language of choice.

JavaScript has cool features that most modern languages need like garbage collection, closures, etc. But how did it go from that crappy web language to a tool that’s going to power the world for the next century? I realize I’m stepping out of my blog’s name by asking this, but it seems like a reasonable question.

Here is my best guess: it rode the coat tails of the Internet. Even twelve years ago, the internet was a drop in the ocean compared to what it is now. HTML and JavaScript were around before the web was cool. When the web became cool, people started looking for ways to make it cooler, found JavaScript in the dusty corners of the internet, and pulled it out of obscurity.

So, what other tools or languages are out there that are hiding in the dust bunnies that we’ll all be using in 10 years? Maybe D will finally rise up!