• JavaScript Affogato: Programming a Culture of Improvised Expertise

    Author(s):
    Brian Lennon (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Group(s):
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, LSL Language and Society, TC Translation Studies
    Subject(s):
    Web development
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    JavaScript, Programming languages
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6WC4H
    Abstract:
    This essay attempts a philological, meaning a both technically and socially attentive historical study of an individual computer programming language, JavaScript. From its introduction, JavaScript’s reception by software developers, and its importance in web development as we now understand it, was structured by a continuous negotiation of expertise. I use the term “improvised expertise” to describe both conditions for and effects of the unanticipated development of JavaScript, originally designed for casual and inexpert coders, into a complex of technical artifacts and practices whose range and complexity of use has today propelled it into domains previously dominated by other, often older and more prestigious languages. “Improvised expertise” also marks the conditions for and effects of three specific developmental dynamics in JavaScript’s recent history: first, the rapidly accelerated development of the language itself, in the versions of its standard specification; second, the recent, abruptly emerging, yet rapid growth of JavaScript in server-side networking, data processing, and other so-called back end development tasks previously off limits to it; third, the equally recent and abrupt, yet decisive emergence of JavaScript as the dominant language of a new generation of dynamic web application frameworks and the developer toolchains or tooling suites that support them.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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