Saturday, August 23, 2008

common misconceptions about common misconceptions

If you have read more than two or three things about Javascript, you have probably noticed that they almost all, without fail take pains to inform you that there is a common misconception that it Javascript is somehow related to Java, but that this is false. There is no relationship other than some syntax and the fact that they are both intended to run in web browsers. I have encountered that warning at least two dozen times in books, manuals, magazine articles, blog entries, and on-line articles. What I have never encountered is anyone who seems to suffer under this misconception.

I suspect that the existence of this common misconception is an urban myth fostered by all of the sources that warn about the misconception. Someone writing about Javascript first reads about Javascript and sees that everyone else who writes about Javascript seems to have encountered this wide-spread misconception. So even though he has never encountered the misconception himself, he assumes that it is, in fact, widespread and so he warns about it, thereby perpetuating this common misconception about the existence of a common misconception.

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