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Introduction to ECMAScript 6, the Official JavaScript

Kakamega, Kenya. Ecmascript 6 JavaScript



Mid 2015 saw ECMAScript 6, the current version of JavaScript officially become a standard. ECMAScript 6 is the current and latest standard of the JavaScript programming language.

Why ECMAScript 6? Because the title JavaScript is a trademark of Oracle. Oracle inherited the title from Sun MicroSystems. Therefore ECMAScript 6 is the official name for JavaScript today.

JavaScript is the common day-to-day name among those in the programming community.

About The ECMAScript 6 Overview

This article does not intend to be a tutorial. It does not make any attempt to present code samples. It merely serves as a foundation for the upcoming JavaScript tutorial series, related articles, and coding boot camps.

We felt that it was good to have a general overview of the current JavaScript standard. There are other resources online where you can learn more about ECMAScript and its history.

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This document is a summary of more in-depth articles and ebooks that you can find on the Internet.

Where Does ECMAScript 6 Run?

ECMAScript 6 runs off any platform that has a compatible JavaScript Engine. It is also consumed by transpilers also known as JavaScript compilers. Examples of compatible JavaScript compilers are Babel and Traceur.

The web browsers with the most support for ECMAScript 6 as of December 2015 are Edge 13, Firefox 44,  Chrome 48 and Opera 35.

Server runtimes such as Node 5.0, EchoJs and Kinoma XS6 are also compatible with ES6.

You can have a look at this ECMAScript compatibility matrix for more information and you can also bookmark it for your future reference.

Kinoma’s XS6 JavaScript engine is currently the JavaScript Engine that scores the highest in ECMAScript 6 compatibility.

Even though JavaScript Engines endeavor to upgrade JavaScript version unobtrusively, there are always challenges dealing with old code in the wild. Regardless of this; ES6 strives to be a better programming language.

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Goals for ECMAScript 6

  • To make ES6 a better language for writing complex applications.
  • A better language for writing code generators and
  • A better language for writing libraries.
  • To improve versioning by keeping it simple and as linear as possible.
  • To improve interoperability by adopting standards as much as possible.

General ECMAScript 6 Features

The general features that come with ES6 resolve around these issues.

  • Better syntax for Classes and Modules.
  • New functionality in the standard library such as maps, sets, promises, strings, and arrays.
  • Brand new features such as Generators, Proxies, and Weakmaps.

Other additional major enhancements that come with ES6 include modules, class declarations, iterators, and generators, lexical block scoping, destructuring patterns, promises for asynchronous programming, and proper tail calls.

What’s Next with ECMAScript?

The next version of JavaScript presumably ECMAScript 7 will be released in 2016. The official name is ECMAScript 2016 and that will be the naming convention from ECMAScript 2016 moving forward.

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The new naming convention has been adopted to fit a road-map that will see the release of a new version of ECMAScript coming out every year. These new versions will probably be small upgrades rather than major overhauls.

Source: “Proposed ECMAScript 4th Edition – Language Overview“.