How to find information in MSDN about ASP.NET and JavaScript

Most developers use the term “JavaScript” generically to refer to the language that’s formally known as ECMAScript. The name “JavaScript” refers to the implementation of this language originally done by Netscape, and the Microsoft implementation is known as “JScript.” (The JavaScript name is actually a trademark of Sun Microsystems.) Because of this fuzzy situation with the name, many MSDN topics avoid using the term “JavaScript” in the generic sense and use the term “client script” or “client-side script” instead. Search engines will sometimes connect a search string that includes “JavaScript” with an MSDN topic about client script, but sometimes they will not.


For example, suppose you want to find general reference material in MSDN about using JavaScript in ASP.NET Web sites. The words you search for make a big difference in what you find:


  • If you enter client script in the search box on the MSDN site, the first item in the results is the overview topic “Client Script in ASP.NET Web Pages” and you can find a dozen related topics near it in the table of contents. These topics are all updated for the current release and versions of the topics are available for earlier releases.
  • If you search for javascript, the first result takes you to an article that was written in 2004; the second takes you to a topic about extending JavaScript with AJAX; the third takes you to an article written in 2006 about ASP.NET 2.0, and so forth. The key MSDN article about using JavaScript does not show up at all in the first 50 results.

Searches for more specific topics can have similar results. Suppose you want to know how to add JavaScript code to a page dynamically:

  • If you enter dynamically add client script in the MSDN search box, the most appropriate MSDN How-to topic is the second result.
  • If you search for dynamically add javascript, that topic does not appear at all in the results. The second search result directs you to a related video on the site.

You might find what you want by using javascript in a search string, but if you do not, try using client script and you may find valuable resources that would otherwise escape your notice.

-- Tom Dykstra
ASP.NET User Education
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.

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