The press release leads with this epic title:
The subtitle may have been better still:
Timeline of an unlikely evolution
1996: Microsoft's version, called JScript, is included in Internet Explorer 3.0
Also 1996: Initial release of CSS
1997: The first edition of ECMA-262 was adopted by the Ecma General Assembly
1998: Netscape open sources the Netscape browser suite, leading to the creation of the Mozilla Project. A few months later, AOL buys Netscape.
1999: IE5 introduces XMLHttpRequest
2000: The rewrite of KHTML is completed, ancestor of WebKit and Blink. On October 23, 2000 KDE 2.0 is released, including KHTML for the first time.
2001: Internet Explorer 6 is released, the last major version of IE for 5 years. Today, the majority of IE6 users that remain are in China
2002: JSON.org is launched
Also 2002: Initial release of what would become Mozilla Firefox.
2003: First beta release of Apple Safari
2004: GMail released, starting the AJAX and "Web Application" era. Its release on April 1 leads people to believe it may be a prank.
Also 2004: WHATWG is formed to accelerate the HTML standardisation process.
2005: Apple open sources WebKit, its fork of KHTML.
Also 2005: Jesse James Garrett releases a white paper in which he coins the term 'Ajax'.
2006: John Resig makes the initial release of JQuery, that would dominate the "better cross-browser DOM API" landscape.
Also 2006: IE7 released - Microsoft restarts IE development.
Also 2007: Leonard Richardson and Sam Ruby write the book RESTful Web Services, that turns the tide in favour of HTTP and against the WS-* set of specifications, also known as WS-DeathStar.
2009: Ryan Dahl releases node.js, which would grow to dominate the Server-side JS ecosystem.
2012: Rise of the single-page app frameworks: AngularJS 1.0, Ember 1.0.pre.
Also 2012: First Nodecopter event held in Berlin.
2013: Firefox OS, whose UI layer is written exclusively in JS, is released. In possibly related news, asm.js is also released in Firefox by Mozilla.
Also 2013: The first Nodebots event is held in San Francisco.
Like all statistics these too can be misleading, but it's better to talk with numbers than with gut feelings.
This beautiful chart by Jan T. Sott shows performance on the Kraken benchmark, for browsers from Firefox 3.5 to Chrome 23, on the same hardware. Keep in mind, that it doesn't show the huge jump in performance that Chrome brought on release from the then-current browser versions. If you want to see what's happenned since Chrome 23 (December 2012), you can do worse than Mozilla's arewefastyet.com benchmark site.
You can find the original data at GitHub.
Everyone knows NPM is exploding. Over the last year it has grown to the tune of 10x in packages and traffic.
Observe how NPM is the only one with an accellerating rate of increase in packages. By our estimation, by February 2015 NPM will have caught up with Rubygems and Maven Central.
Besides the 55,000+ packages in NPM, there is an additional 6000+ front-end packages in Bower, which is also increasing at dizzying speeds.
Another marker of the ecosystem is the number of languages that compile to JS.
What next for JS?
Undeniably, the enterprises are coming. A rich startup ecosystem is growing around node.js, and big companies like Yahoo, PayPal, and LinkedIn have invested a lot of resources into adopting it internally. Besides the web giants, node.js seems to be catching on in some companies you might not expect, like Walmart:
"I'm ready to certify Node 0.10.22 as 'Walmart Black Friday Ready'. If you're bigger than that it's your problem." - @eranhammer #nodesummit— Laurie Voss (@seldo2) December 3, 2013
A few of the most exciting projects and events in this space: Nodebots, Nodecopter, Tessel.io, Espruino, Device.js as well as applications like heimcontrol.js and Google Coder for Raspberry Pi. These are just a few of the fascinating projects we've seen pop up over the last few months, there is certainly a lot more to come.
By means of a conclusion
How the pieces will align and what the medium-term result will be is anyone's guess, but exciting times are definitely ahead, and the only way is up.