Microsoft Open Sources Chakra JavaScript Engine
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 09 December 2015

Microsoft may well be open sourcing something on an almost daily basis, but why the Chakra JavaScript engine?

The Chakra JavaScript engine was introduced first to power IE 9 and more recently as a core component of Edge, Microsoft's replacement browser. Chakra is fast and incorporates many up-to-date features of the JavaScript language. It is also used in a range of Microsoft projects including Universal Windows 10 apps and it has even been used to implement Node.js without the customary V8 engine.

 

chakra

 

Now Microsoft has announced that it is open sourcing what it calls ChakraCore - the complete JavaScript engine including the parser, the interpreter, the JIT and the API used to connect the engine with applications such as Edge. It isn't 100% what Edge uses, however, as there is some code that connects it with the HTML engine and a COM based diagnostic engine.  The bindings to the Universal Windows Platform are also not included. 

 

chakracore

 

It isn't quite ready to be open sourced just yet:

"Starting in January, we will open our public GitHub repository for community contributions. At that time, we will provide more detail on our initial priorities and guidance on how to contribute effectively to the project. "

It also seems that the project will use the MIT licence.

microsoftos

At the moment it isn't clear why Microsoft has open sourced Chakra - apart from the simple fact that there isn't much reason for it not to.

Programmers face a wide a choice of which JavaScript engine to use: Rhino, V8, Nashorn, JavaScriptCore and now ChakraCore. You can see, and this list is only of the biggest and best known, that there has been no shortage of JavaScript engines.

It is also difficult to see why programmers would be attracted to work on the project - does a port to Linux, OSX or Android make any sense? In comments on social media, the Chakra team seem to be keen on a Linux port - but why?

 

chakracore

More Information

Microsoft Edge’s JavaScript engine to go open-source

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 December 2015 )