Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

JavaScript, Rebranded….. Check.

Category: Editorial

Michael Mahemoff has a nice little post on the rebranding of JavaScript. It kicked off when he was listening to Steve Yegge on rebranding:

He talks about how languages are branded, e.g. “Java” is enterprise. One of his main points is that brands are “const identifiers”, i.e. it takes an entire generation to change brand perception, so it’s often more effective to simply re-brand. e.g. GTE had a poor brand, so they tried a self-deprecating ad campaign, which backfired, and subsequently re-branded to Verizon.

He then mentions Javascript has a branding problem, because it represents “browser” and “toy language” and “damnit, I gotta learn Javascript” and it’s the language no-one wants to use. He also notes the name itself isn’t great either, nor the rhino imagery. (I’m not sure why Steve assumed many programmers would associate Javascript with rhinos; the Rhino product and O’Reilly cover weren’t really promiment enough to do that; rhino ain’t camel!).

But, wait a minute, didn’t we already have a rebranding?

Javascript has already been rebranded. In fact, I’d go so far as to say “Ajax” was one of the most successful rebrandings in software history.

Although technically Ajax != JavaScript, and the rebranding is really DHTML, he is right. Ajax rebranded the Web, and we have all benefited from it.

I also think that this is just the beginning, and we haven’t seen the best of the Ajax revolution yet.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:02 am

3.6 rating from 27 votes


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Rebrand it simply “JS”.
Then it’ll sound all abstruse and mysterious and it’ll have to be cool. Nice thing about “JS” is that it’s still true to what it is and its history, but it downplays the “scriptiness” aspect. Seems to work for PHP, C++, C#, XML, etc. Just go with an acronym.
It’s like Kentucky Fried Chicken becomes KFC. (Kentucky Fried Script, anyone? Mmmmmmmm……. fried script……… aaararargahrghgrhghhhhh)

Comment by uize — July 8, 2008

ooh ooh!!! Or we can do something really different…Lets not rebrand it! That will make a nice fashion statement..

I mean… Will people actually care more about it with a different name… NO.

Comment by V1 — July 8, 2008

I tend to use AJAX in place of JavaScript when discussing projects with ‘normal’ people. People seem to attribute ‘cutting-edge’ with the meaningless acronym, hwerea JavaScript is too often either a) confused with Java or b) dismissed as a ‘toy-scripting-language’ (most usually by MS-centric folks who don’t appear to understand the fundamentals behind ASP.NET AJAX)

Comment by Jamie — July 8, 2008

Its so true that AJAX has virtually re-branded JavaScript. People who are very new to JavaScript always refer to everything they do as “AJAX”, even if its as simple as a Drop Down Effect where no Asynchronous call is made.

I completely disagree with the above comment however. C++ and C# are definitely not scripting languages and I don’t see how they can possibly be drawn in comparison to JavaScript.

Comment by vegitto — July 8, 2008

I always thought LiveScript sounded quite nice

Comment by philm — July 8, 2008

Uize, thanks for a good little smile and snicker on the train this morn!

KFS … Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

But I digest! ;-)

It seems to be that JS always has suffered from the “little brother” syndrome: no one is sure they want them to join in, and no one wants to admit it. But javascript has become more synchronous with development today, I can’t go a day without using it somehow. Does it matter what initials or acronym we use?

Comment by jonrandahl — July 8, 2008

Your site has been hacked you idiots. Spam links in the RSS feed and in a hidden DIV in the HTML.

Comment by DuncanSmart — July 8, 2008

I registered just to tell agree that you have someone putting ads into your pages inside hidden DIV tags.

Comment by hikeeba — July 8, 2008

It would be nice to rebrand JavaScript, but I think at this stage it would just cause even more confusing – I already have clients asking for AJAX, DHTML, Java and JavaScript when they mean the same thing!

Comment by ckorhonen — July 8, 2008

Interesting article, however I don’t know what we’d do to rebrand Javascript. Maybe give it a more macho, powerful-sounding name like “MegaScript” or “SolidScript” or “TigerShark”. Then we can roll our eyes condescendingly at everyone who continues using the OLD name a few months from now, realizing that they are idiots.

“Javascript? ha ha – oh you fool you mean Tigershark! Obviously you’re an idiot and I’m not.”

Or just rename it all “Mootools” and be done with it.

Oh, and by the way you have a whole pile of spammy Viagra links going out in your RSS feed. toodles!

Comment by httpwebwitch — July 8, 2008

Some people still think of JavaScript as a simple toy language for script kiddies. I’m finding it’s better for me to say I’m an Ajax programmer than a JavaScript programmer. Thank God for the word “Ajax.”

Comment by Nosredna — July 8, 2008

SWEEEEEEEET! TigerShark it is, then! Sounds more potent than SquirrelFish. In fact, TigerShark eats SquirrelFishes for breakfast.

Comment by uize — July 8, 2008

When I’m talking with non-JavaScript programmers, I’ve noticed that anything dealing with client-side web programming is almost exclusively called “AJAX” now — I’ve almost started to go along, just because it makes stuff easier. But seriously, who cares as long as we have jobs, eh?

And please, fix the damn spam in RSS links — I suggest an upgrade to your WordPress installation. It’s called “Movable Type” or “Textpattern.” :P

Comment by mdmadph — July 8, 2008

How about we use uize’s idea and call it JS, but also use webwitch’s ‘TigerShark’ idea as a codename? Of course the codename will be public knowledge, but it will sound cooler just because it is called a codename…. like this: “Hey, have you seen the new JS version 6.313245, codename TigerShark++?”

Comment by WillPeavy — July 8, 2008

I vote that the Ajaxian site is pretty much Web 1.8, why not do a contest for a redesign? I know the blog contributors have enough on their plate, and obviously there’s tons of designers around with free time (read: commenters), let the people fix the problem! It will definitely garner more hits, how can we lose?
Seriously, you guys have had [blog-spam/hacks/embed content-width/improperly escaped code in comments] problems for months (years?) and I don’t click on 95% of the links on these pages… Between the messy design and WordPress calls your server must be working epic overtime. Why not save money and appease your customers? Feel free to email if you’d like some assistance…. :-)

Comment by doublerebel — July 8, 2008

I’m sure I could get my boss to pay for some TigerShark Certification.

Comment by JeromeLapointe — July 8, 2008


who cares what it’s called

Comment by stevesnz — July 9, 2008

I used to call it ECMAscript. But then ECMA approved OOXML.

Comment by randomrandom — July 12, 2008

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