JavaScript once was the "default" language for Gnome apps – does anyone remember?

Reading the README of GJS, I found out that about a decade ago, JavaScript was declared to be the “default” language for writing Gnome apps, announcing developers putting focus on its documentation and recommending it to newcomers. The README also states that this decision was revoked later.

Though I can find a lot of news articles and feedback the annoncement, I can’t find any statements on when and why this was undone. The announcements of this decision have received a lot of negative feedback for the choice of JavaScript, but also a lot of positive feedback for making such a choice at all (and also some positive feedback on JS being fast and not bringing a standard library itself). I’m very interested whether the reasons stated in the negative feedback to the announcement (like JavaScript as a pototype based langauge not being suited well for the GObject model) were the reason for undoing this decision and if there were additional reasons.

Was anyone present at the time and can remember when and why this decision was revoked?

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It was “undone” pretty much immediately because people misunderstood what “focusing on documentation and recommending to newcomers” meant.

Additionally, the announcement was done during a documentation hackfest before having any resources available to ensure that the documentation, examples, tutorials, and so on were going to be written and updated.

The pushback from multiple communities—which incorrectly assumed that it meant only JavaScript would be used by GNOME projects—and the lack of resources ensured that the decision was quietly rolled back over the following cycles.

While that statement isn’t really true, the rollback had nothing to do with technical reasons, and more with a mismanaged perception and the lack of resources.

That particular announcement, alongside the GTK4 development announcement, are the reason why we don’t delegate press releases to hackfest participants any more. :wink:


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