Feeds

JavaScript shogun deflects Google's mid-air Dart attack

Wirfs-Brock preaches Harmony

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Sweet harmony

That's where Wirfs-Brock reckons ECMAScript Harmony could come in. Harmony is an over-used and somewhat lazy codename for technology projects; in this context, however, it denotes the permanently "next" version of the ECMAScript standard that underpins JavaScript.

Harmony's goals include making the language better for writing complex applications and libraries, including - it seems - writing the Document Object Model (DOM) code (which manages the elements on a web page) in native JavaScript. "There were things done in the DOM that were important to do in JavaScript, so you couldn't implement the DOM as a JavaScript library. We are making sure the language is able to support the DOM," Wirfs-Brock said.

A Mozilla research project has already tried re-implement the HTML5 DOM in JavaScript, but it seems to have slowed down or been stopped. Project member David Flanagan recently told The Reg by email he'd become involved in another project that was taking his time and called Dom.js "incomplete". However, he reckoned Dom.js would "become much more robust" as Mozilla's larger Servo Project for a "parallel browser engine" develops.

Wirfs-Brock was sanguine about the project, suggesting that "these things start and stop", but stressed native DOM would be a major step forwards for performance. "The more we can implement in JavaScript the less interoperability overhead and more flexible and extensible the environment is," he said.

Broad goals for Harmony are modularity and better abstraction capabilities. There's a discussion about whether JavaScript should be a functional or Object-Oriented language and also a debate about how permissive the language should remain and about security.

When it comes down to actual features in Harmony, these will include: sandboxes and module loaders, array comprehensions, binary data objects, built-in hash maps and sets, and super-method calls. Some of these, such as block scoping, array comprehension, maps and proxy, have already made it into browsers, specifically Firefox and Chrome between 2006 and 2008. Elsewhere "some of these details aren't really pinned down yet," Wirfs-Brock says.

In the meantime, there's no date for Harmony, although you can expect to be using Harmony's features in five to six years from now. Ahead of that, ECMAScript 6 is expected to be formalised by the end of 2013 when Wirfs-Brock also expects most browsers will be running ECMAScript 5.

Meanwhile, Google marches on with Dart.

The future meets JavaScript

Speaking at QCon last week, Wirfs-Brock reckoned that if there's a danger to JavaScript it'll be from the ECMAScript standards process, which could make JavaScript irrelevant to the needs of developers or chuck in the wrong things. ECMAScript 4 was considered a bit of a disaster and version 5 a success because it got everybody on track again.

And while Google pushes the Dart VM performance factor, Wirfs-Brock believes the performance problem for the language Google wants to replace has been solved, thanks in part to the break-neck work of JavaScript engine makers, who turned out with V8, Webkit, Spidermonkey and Chakra a few years back.

"People heard a lot about JavaScript performance - it's been a big area of emphasis for JavaScript engine implementers in last couple of years. For the moment, the JavaScript performance issues have been solved," Wirfs-Brock said.

Maybe JavaScript has done enough to hold onto its kingdom and to keep Dart at arm's length. And maybe not. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.