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An Operational Semantics for JavaScript

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Executive Summary

The authors define a small-step operational semantics for the ECMAScript standard language corresponding to JavaScript, as a basis for analyzing security properties of web applications and mashups. The semantics is based on the language standard and a number of experiments with different implementations and browsers. Some basic properties of the semantics are proved, including a soundness theorem and a characterization of the reachable portion of the heap. JavaScript is widely used in Web programming and it is implemented in every major browser. As a programming language, JavaScript supports functional programming with anonymous functions, which are widely used to handle browser events such as mouse clicks.

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