Feeds

JavaScript shogun deflects Google's mid-air Dart attack

Wirfs-Brock preaches Harmony

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.