TypeScript Fully Accepted into Visual Studio
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 28 February 2014

A typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript has been integrated into Visual Studio. TypeScript has been developed by Microsoft for creating complex applications, and has now achieved the status of a built-in programming language for Visual Studio.

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Microsoft has made available the first release candidate of the production-ready version of TypeScript 1.0. Announcing it on the TypeScript blog, Jonathan Turner of the TypeScript team said:

TypeScript 1.0RC release is also immediately available for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 development as a standalone power tool and as a cross-platform tool via the npm package.

The main improvements to TypeScript 1.0 from the previous 0.95 version are a simpler type system, an improved lib.d.ts, and a more natural declaration merge order.

TypeScript first surfaced in 2012, when Microsoft’s Anders Hejlsberg gave details of the decision to create a JavaScript-based language suitable for creating larger projects.

At the time there was some scepticism as to whether the world needed another strongly typed language, but TypeScript has overcome such doubts. Writing about the new support for TypeScript in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, on the Visual Studio Blog, Somasegar comments:

“TypeScript has been a hit with developers both inside and outside Microsoft as it's developed toward 1.0 over the last 18 months. Optional static typing, rich IDE features, and support for classes and modules provide foundations for robust software development for JavaScript developers.

“TypeScript is today being used to build products all over Microsoft, including Visual Studio Online, XBox Music and Video, parts of Bing, and the IE11 Developer Tools. Outside of Microsoft, TypeScript is being used in projects like Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite. The open source community around TypeScript has developed great projects like IDE support for TypeScript in Eclipse and the DefinitelyTyped repository of JavaScript library typings for all of the most popular JavaScript libraries.”

The thinking behind the original decision to create the new language, according Anders Hejlsberg, is that increasingly developers are using JavaScript to write large applications. Hejlsberg is Microsoft chief architect for C#, and he’s been a major force behind the creation of TypeScript. The problem with using JavaScript for large projects, according to Hejlsberg, is that it was intended for writing smaller programs, and it does increasingly badly when projects get to hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Hejlsberg pointed out that you can't safely refactor anything and there are no large-scale structuring concepts like classes or modules.

The fact that TypeScript code can be compiled means the language offers features typically associated with traditional programming languages such as Java and C++, including the use of static typing so that variable must be declared, and generics so that methods can to be applied to different data types. Classes are also supported.

All this means the Visual Studio IDE can provide more support for developers through tools such as IntelliSense code completion.

Microsoft is also making TypeScript plug-ins available for other programming environments such as Eclipse.

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More Information

TypeScript website

Announcing TypeScript 1.0RC

Related Articles

TypeScript 0.9 Released

TypeScript - Microsoft's Replacement For JavaScript

Getting Started With TypeScript


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