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ECMAScript 5, also known as ES5, was released in 2009. It introduced significant changes to the language, including new features like strict mode, JSON support, and Object.freeze. One of the major differences between ES5 and its predecessors was the introduction of several new methods for arrays and objects, making it easier to manipulate and traverse complex data structures.
ECMAScript 6, referred commonly as ES6 or ES2015, was released in 2015. ES6 introduced significant changes to the language, including the let and const keywords for variable declarations, arrow functions, template literals, and classes. ES6 also introduced new syntax for creating and destructuring objects and arrays, making code easier to read and write.
ES6 also introduced new features for asynchronous programming, including promises and async/await. Promises allow developers to handle asynchronous operations in a more readable and manageable way, while async/await provides a more synchronous-like syntax for handling asynchronous operations.
After ES6, ECMAScript introduced a new process for developing and releasing new features. Instead of releasing a new version of the specification every few years, ECMAScript now releases new features on an annual basis. ECMAScript 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 introduced features like async generators, object rest/spread, and BigInt.
ECMAScript 2020 introduced significant changes to the language, including optional chaining, nullish coalescing, and dynamic import. These features make it easier to write cleaner, more concise code.