Difference Between ES5 and ES6 in JavaScript

When you delve into the realm of JavaScript, you'll often come across terms like ES5 and ES6. But what exactly are they? Essentially, they are versions of ECMAScript, the scripting language specification that serves as the foundation for several programming languages, including JavaScript.

For a college beginner, think of ES5 and ES6 as two editions of the same book, where ES6 contains added chapters and revised content. Let's dive deep and differentiate between the two.


  • ES5 (ECMAScript 5): Released in 2009, it became the backbone for modern web development. Browsers began to universally support it, and most of the JavaScript we see today is based on ES5.

  • ES6 (ECMAScript 2015): Released in 2015, it's also known as ES2015. ES6 introduced significant enhancements and new features to make the language more powerful and developer-friendly.

Key Differences

  1. Var vs. Let & Const
    ES5: The primary way to declare variables was using var.

     var name = "John";

    ES6: Introduced let and const for variable declarations.

     let name = "John"; // Can be reassigned
     const age = 20;    // Cannot be reassigned
  2. Template Literals
    ES5: Strings and variables were concatenated using +.

     var greeting = "Hello, " + name + "!";

    ES6: Introduced template literals.

     let greeting = `Hello, ${name}!`;
  3. Arrow Functions
    ES5: Traditional function declaration.

     function add(x, y) {
         return x + y;

    ES6: Arrow functions offer a more concise syntax.

     const add = (x, y) => x + y;
  4. Classes
    ES5: Simulating classes required functions and prototypes.

     function Car(model) {
         this.model = model;
     Car.prototype.display = function() {

    ES6: Introduced a class syntax.

     class Car {
         constructor(model) {
             this.model = model;
         display() {
  5. Default Parameters
    ES5: Required manual checks.

     function greet(message) {
         message = message || "Hello!";

    ES6: Default parameters can be directly assigned.

     function greet(message = "Hello!") {
  6. Destructuring
    ES6 introduced destructuring, which was absent in ES5. It allows unpacking values from arrays or properties from objects.

     const person = { firstName: "John", lastName: "Doe" };
     const { firstName, lastName } = person;
  7. Spread and Rest Operator
    Absent in ES5, ES6 introduced the spread (...) operator for expanding arrays and other expressions.

     let numbers = [1, 2, 3];
     let moreNumbers = [...numbers, 4, 5];

    It also works as the rest operator to collect the rest of the items.

     function logNumbers(...args) {
         for (let num of args) {
  8. Promises
    ES5 required callback functions to handle asynchronous operations, which could lead to "callback hell". ES6 introduced Promises as a solution.

     const promise = new Promise((resolve, reject) => {
         // Some async operation
         if (/* success */) {
         } else {
     promise.then(data => console.log(data)).catch(error => console.log(error));


JavaScript's evolution from ES5 to ES6 has brought about a myriad of new features and improvements, making the language more concise, powerful, and developer-friendly. While ES5 served as the foundation, ES6 built upon it, paving the way for modern web development.

For beginners, transitioning from ES5 to ES6 might seem daunting, but remember that learning is a gradual process. Start by incorporating one ES6 feature at a time into your projects and soon, it'll become second nature!

Remember, JavaScript hasn't stopped evolving. As you progress in your programming journey, always be on the lookout for new versions and updates to stay relevant in the dynamic world of web development.