Earlier this month the Javascript Jabber podcast did a fascinating interview with Brendan Eich, the creator of Javascript.

If you have any interest in the history of the web, or how Netscape became Mozilla.org, or just want more insight into why Javascript is the way it is then you really need to listen to this.

It is filled with dozens of fascinating little tidbits, like this one about the origin of XHR (and therefore AJAX and most of the modern web).

And meanwhile, Microsoft decided they didn’t want to play ball with Sun. And so, at some point they yanked Java from Windows, if you guys remember the history. And that led to something we all know and love called the XML HTTP Request because Outlook Web Access needed Java to do asynchronous XML HTTP requests, once Microsoft decided they were breaking up with Sun they were going to yank Java and there was a lawsuit around that, that they needed a replacement for the Java async I/O class. And so, they just hacked in XHR. That’s how XHR came about. It was totally based on this fight between Microsoft and Sun.

Sadly after listening to this I realised that Brendan Eich was this guy … which is unfortunate. I’d mostly forgotten about that. I might disagree with his politics, but it is still fascinating to hear his account of these events which have formed so much of our modern technological world.