Douglas Crockford

Douglas Crockford is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur who is involved in the development of the JavaScript language. He popularized the data format JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), and has developed various JavaScript related tools such as JSLint and JSMin.[2] He is currently a senior JavaScript architect at PayPal, and is also a writer and speaker on JavaScript, JSON, and related web technologies.

Douglas Crockford
Douglas Crockford (2013)
Born1955 (age 6364)
Alma materSan Francisco State University
OccupationSenior JavaScript Architect
Known forJavaScript Object Notation


Crockford earned a degree in Radio and Television from San Francisco State University[3] in 1975. He took classes in FORTRAN and worked with a university lab's computer.[4]


Crockford purchased an Atari 8-bit computer in 1980 and wrote the game Galahad and the Holy Grail for the Atari Program Exchange (APX), which resulted in Chris Crawford hiring him at Atari, Inc. While at Atari, Crockford wrote another game, Burgers!, for APX[5] and a number of experimental audio/visual demos that were freely distributed.[6][7]

After Warner Communications sold the company, he joined National Semiconductor. In 1984 Crockford joined Lucasfilm,[4] and later Paramount Pictures. He became known on video game oriented listservs in the early 1990s after he posted his memoir "The Expurgation of Maniac Mansion" to a videogaming bulletin board. The memoir documented his efforts to censor the computer game Maniac Mansion to Nintendo's satisfaction so that they could release it as a cartridge, and Crockford's mounting frustrations as Nintendo's demands became more obscure and confusing.[8]

Together with Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar, Crockford founded Electric Communities and was its CEO from 1994 to 1995. He was involved in the development of the programming language E.

Crockford was the founder of State Software (also known as Veil Networks) and its CTO from 2001 to 2002.

During his time at State Software, Crockford popularized the JSON data format, based upon existing JavaScript language constructs, as a lightweight alternative to XML. He obtained the domain name in 2002, and put up his description of the format there.[9] In July 2006, he specified the format officially, as RFC 4627.[10]

"Good, not Evil"

In 2002, in reference to President George Bush's war on "evildoers", Crockford started releasing his JSMin software under a custom license, which he created by adding the requirement "The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil" to the open source MIT License. This clause was carried over to JSMin-PHP, a variation of JSMin by Ryan Grove. This software was hosted on Google Code until December 2009 when, due to the additional clause, Google determined that the license was not compliant with the definition of free and open source software, which does not permit any restriction on how software may be used.[11][12] JSMin-PHP was forced to migrate to a new hosting provider.[13][14]

Crockford's license is intended to mock potential users of his software[15] and has caused problems for some open source projects who mistook the license for an open source variant of the MIT license. Affected open source developers have asked Crockford to change the license,[16][17][18] but he has generally refused to do so.[19] He has, however, granted "IBM, its customers, partners, and minions" permission "to use JSLint for evil", a solution which appeared to satisfy IBM's lawyers.[20]


  • JavaScript: The Good Parts. O'Reilly. 2008. ISBN 978-0-596-51774-8. OCLC 192027457.
  • How JavaScript Works. Virgule-Solidus. 2018. ISBN 978-1949815009. OCLC 1076490570.


  1. Bill Scott (May 12, 2012). "Welcome Crock!". Looks Good Works Well blog.
  2. "JSMIN, The JavaScript Minifier". December 4, 2003. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  3. Douglas Crockford speaker biography Archived February 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine , New Paradigms for Using Computers conference, IBM Almaden Research Center, August 22, 1996
  4. Boosman, Frank (March 1987). "Designer Profile: Doug Crockford". Computer Gaming World (interview). p. 40.
  5. "Atari Program Exchange: Burgers!".
  6. "Hollywood Medieval demo for Atari 8-bit". YouTube.
  7. "Ballsong Nr 1 demo for Atari 8-bit". YouTube.
  8. The Expurgation of Maniac Mansion: A Memoir by Douglas Crockford
  9. JSON: The Fat-Free Alternative to XML, Douglas Crockford, December 6, 2006
  10. RFC 4627: The application/json Media Type for JavaScript Object Notation (JSON)
  11. "The Open Source Definition | Open Source Initiative". February 22, 1999. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  12. "OSI FAQ entry on 'evil'".
  13. Shankland, Stephen (December 28, 2009). "'Don't-be-evil' Google spurns no-evil software | Deep Tech - CNET News". Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  14. (December 8, 2009). "JSMin isn't welcome on Google Code". Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  15. Douglas Crockford: The JSON Saga. YouTube (August 28, 2011). Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  16. directhex (November 9, 2012). "Archive » Evil, or why Douglas Crockford is harmful to Free Software". Apebox.Org. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  17. " License Literally Says it "shall be used for Good, not Evil" | Hacker News". January 30, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  18. "Bug #63520 JSON extension includes a problematic license statement". January 30, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  19. "His javascript minifier 'jsmin' was causing projects to get removed from Google ... | Hacker News". Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  20. "IBM and its minions..." February 13, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
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