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Google Releases Open Source JavaScript Tools 158

Dan Jones writes "Google has open sourced several of its key JavaScript application development tools, hoping that they will prove useful for external programmers to build faster Web applications. According to Google, by enabling and allowing developers to use the same tools that Google uses, they can not only build rich applications but also make the Web really fast. The Closure JavaScript compiler and library are used as the standard Javascript library for pretty much any large, public Web application that Google is serving today, including some of its most popular Web applications, including Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps. Google has also released Closure Templates which are designed to automate the dynamic creation of HTML. The announcement comes a few months after Google released and open sourced the NX server."
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Google Releases Open Source JavaScript Tools

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  • Unimpressive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BitHive ( 578094 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @07:44PM (#30001596) Homepage

    Half the demos don't work and these widgets are hideous even by Google standards. I'm gonna stick with ExtJs for the forseeable future.

  • Re:Nice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:05PM (#30001740)

    These results are very impressive. I fed it a 445KB Javascript file for one of my applications and it was able to reduce that to only 9KB of code! Who knew that 90% of that code was just cruft? It even had the added bonus of randomly inserting subtraction operators in the middle of my identifier names and constants.


    I also gave it the URL of a 860KB JS file which it claimed was "unavailable", despite being able to load the 445KB file in the same directory.

    Let me guess, Google: it's a beta.

  • by Rylz ( 868268 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:09PM (#30001764) Journal

    look a bit like a push towards Chrome.

    Funny, I've also heard this argument the other way around. A lot of people seem to think that Chrome is actually meant simply to push every browser developer to build faster JavaScript support and to catalyze other technologies that will allow Google to develop better web applications. Maybe this release is also a push towards those goals.

  • by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <> on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:10PM (#30001780) Homepage

    It's not that rare. Many cellphones are going this route nowadays as well as the Mac OS X dashboard widgets and Mac OS X apps []. Then of course, there are the gtk javascript bindings [].

    Javascript is finding itself in more and more places nowadays.

  • Re:Unimpressive (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lhoguin ( 1422973 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:13PM (#30001806) Homepage

    Looking at the library's source code, I don't find many new things that I can't already find in another library. I'm sure there's interesting components, but this looks more like another case of NIH than anything. If their code really is faster I'd rather have them work on existing libraries and try to speed things up for everyone rather than creating more of the same thing.

    Of course, if everyone uses Google's tools and libraries, it makes things easier for them to optimize Chrome, which is probably the whole point.

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @08:19PM (#30001844)

    If things start to base more and more in javascript, specially complex one, not only the old browsers will die (ok, killing IE6 for good is an obligation for the future of mankind, or at least internet), but also current/competitive browsers not so fast at the javascript arena will get a big hit too. Good enough will stop being enough when most internet need complex javascript and a blazing fast javascript engine to work.

    It's not really that bad. I've been developing a pretty massive application based on ExtJS that runs surprisingly fast in IE6. In Chrome or Firefox it runs very fast. I'm talking about 450KB minified Javascript files here, doing things like laying out data in sortable filtering grids, tree structures, drag and drop, etc. I'm surprised at how well IE manages to use it.

  • Re:My gawd (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @09:46PM (#30002360) Homepage Journal

    It's a sad thing that mono is currently better supported on GNOME than Java. Where are the Java desktop programs?

    Anyone unhappy with Flash and Silverlight should really push JavaFX and make his/her desktop Java-ready. Let's kill Silverlight and Flash with Javascript and JavaFX, the open languages.

  • Re:My gawd (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday November 05, 2009 @10:37PM (#30002618) Journal

    Let's kill Silverlight and Flash with Javascript and JavaFX, the open languages.

    Sad face here, I wonder just how open Java will remain. Consider: Java was defined by the Sun Java Test Suite, wasn't it? And now Oracle owns Sun. Oracle has long been known to me as a very agressive closed, proprietary company living off their software licenses.

    Should the Open Source community still be backing Java, now that the rather benign hand of Sun is no longer controlling it? Is it time to rally around something else now? Some language where you aren't in danger of being sued for infringement if you copy a test suite?

    I am worried about Oracle pulling the strings, at some point they may think it in their best interests to act in such a way as to drive the language to more proprietary platforms. It's within their scope to do so, and it may be in their best interests to try. What was once the language choice for clear sailing is now in treacherous waters I think. Write once, run everywhere - for a given value of "everywhere".

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @04:28AM (#30003766)
    GWT is a great Java to Javascript environment, but falls down in that to produce new components (ouside the toolbox provided) is difficult and requires raw javascript. Does anyone know if these products integrate or work together, because what would be really nice would be to be able to use closure to produce GWT components
  • Re:My gawd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Friday November 06, 2009 @04:35AM (#30003792) Homepage

    None of us would use Javascript if we had a choice, but we don't. So toolkits like JQuery or this release by Google are life savers.

    JavaScript the language is actually very nice - the main problems with 'JavaScript' are browser inconsistencies, the DOM, etc. etc.

    But if you take JavaScript itself, then yeah it has some problems - it was rushed - but it has good parts []: It's a dynamic language, supports closures, first-class functions, convenient object definition syntax (from where we get JSON), etc. Due to its ubiquity, it also has the most secure and fast engines of any dynamic language (except for LuaJIT, but a comparison there is a topic all in itself).

    Because of those, JavaScript is being used more and more as a scripting language outside of web browsers, for example in desktop environments, game engines, etc. If you stick to good coding practices in JavaScript, you can write large and robust applications in it.

    But, again, to return to the original point, the current state of JavaScript in browsers is very messy. Which is why we need things like jQuery, and maybe this new library from Google as well.

Keep up the good work! But please don't ask me to help.