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JavaScript was written by Brendan Eich at Netscape in 10 days in May 1995. Previously known as Mocha and LiveScript, it was first incorporated into the Netscape Navigator in 1995 along with Sun Microsystems' Java language.

Microsoft script technologies, VBScript and JScript, were released in 1996. JScript was a part of Internet Explorer 3, and was available for server-side scripting in Internet Information Server. Web developers attempted to optimize websites for both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, but technical obstacles and differences between the Netscape and Microsoft technologies lead to the use of "best viewed in Netscape" and "best viewed in Internet Explorer" logos that characterized the early browser war years.

In November 1996, Netscape submitted JavaScript to Ecma International to carve out a standard specification, which other browser vendors could then implement based on the work done by Netscape. This led to the official release of the language specification ECMAScript published in the first edition of the ECMA-262 standard in June 1997.

Following in June 1998 was the release of ECMAScript 2, followed by ECMAScript 3 in December 1999. ECMAScript 3 is the baseline for modern day JavaScript.