The original plan was to develop a fourth edition of the standard and much work was done to develop that edition. However disputes emerged over the major revisions and numerous parts of the revised edition were questioned. At issue were features such as name spaces and early binding. A resolution to this was announced last August which saw those features declared "unsound for the web" and development work was switched to ECMAScript 3.1. The fourth edition itself was dropped from the standardisation process, but some features of the fourth edition made it through into the 3.1 process. It is the ECMAScript 3.1 work which is the basis for the ECMAScript fifth edition.
The final draft now moves to interoperability and compatibility testing with vendors and other interested parties. The aim, according to ECMA, is to ratify the new standard by the end of 2009. Development on the generation of ECMAScript beyond the fifth edition is continuing under the ECMAScript Harmony project, which was announced as part of the resolution of the earlier disputes.
The European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA), an association formed to promote the formulation of coding standards for the computer industry, held its first meeting in Brussels, in 1960.