Web Development Primer


JavaScript is a scripting language that was developed by Netscape and supported as Jscript in Microsoft Internet Explorer. The language was turned into ECMAScript, as a cross-platform Internet standard for scripting. But we still use the most commonly recognized JavaScript name. JavaScript should not be confused with Java. Despite similarities in their names, these 2 languages are completely different from each other. In fact the name "JavaScript" came around as nothing more than a marketing ploy.

JavaScript is a core web technology that every designer is encouraged to understand well. It was born out of desire to let HTML authors write scripts directly in their documents. JavaScript brings programming power within the reach of everyone familiar with HTML.

JavaScript borrows its syntax from C/C++ and those familiar with C will feel right at home. But those without any programming experience will find that JavaScript is not the easiest language in the world to learn but it's a far cry from having to learn a full programming language such as Java or C.

JavaScript is interpreted on the client side (on the user's browser), and is shipped in every platform-specific version of Netscape Navigator 2+ and Internet Explorer 4+. It can be used to enhance web page in many ways, for example, validating form, adding user interactivity, process data or control multiple frames. It handles events for the various HTML elements, for example, it allows buttons to have OnClick event handlers. While most people limit their use of JavaScript to client-side only, JavaScript can also be used in servers, and authoring tools.


Microsoft's Visual Basic Script (VBScript) offers the functions of a programming language and the simplicity of a technology streamlined for the Web. With VBScript, you can bring your Web pages to life with real-time interaction; there's no more waiting for a server to respond to button clicks and mouse movements. A click of a button gets an instant reaction, and the movement of the mouse over an object brings the object to life.

When you enhance your Web pages with VBScript, you insert scripts directly into your pages. Because VBScript is a subset of Microsoft's Visual Basic, your scripts resemble programs written in Visual Basic. If you aren't a programmer, don't worry. The wonderful thing about VBScript is that it's a very simple programming language to learn and to use. Many Web publishers who aren't programmers use VBScript to enhance their Web pages.

Like most basic programming languages, VBScript is an interpreted language, which is both good news and bad news. The good news is that you don't need to compile your scripts as you would with a program written in C or C++. Your scripts are directly interpreted, line-by-line, when they're executed in the user's browser. The bad news is that before anyone can run your scripts, he or she needs a VBScript interpreter, which is part of the standard Internet Explorer browser package. It's installed automatically when you install Internet Explorer. VBScript is really more or less another version of JavaScript. The only difference is that with VBScript you can use ActiveX controls which allow for more functionality than JavaScript provides. The downside of this is that this added functionality has created a plethora of security issues with Microsoft browsers.