Microsoft to open source the Edge browser JavaScript engine

Move is designed to allow its partners to make their own contributions.

Microsoft Windows 10 open source Edge browser JavaScript engine

The Edge browser that comes with Windows 10 shows a marked improvement in performance, particularly in the area of JavaScript performance. Now Microsoft wants to amp up performance even more, and is going to do so by making the JavaScript engine source available as open source.

Microsoft wrote the Chakra JavaScript engine from scratch, using the most current Java technologies to give Edge a major performance boost over the aging Internet Explorer line. At the JSConf show for JavaScript and Web developers, the company announced that the core components, known as ChakraCore, will be released on GitHub next month. The type of license was not disclosed. 

The announcement came in the form of a blog post, as usual, from Gaurav Seth, principal PM manager. Seth said that in addition to getting community/user contribution, vendors like Intel, AMD, and NodeSource had expressed interest in contributing to ChakraCore.

The open source code does not include the engine's private bindings for COM and Universal Windows Apps. Instead, ChakraCore will support a new set of modern diagnostic APIs, which will be platform-agnostic and could be standardized or made interoperable across different implementations.

The initial January release will be for Windows only, but Seth said the company is committed to bringing ChakraCore to other platforms in the future. "We’d invite developers to help us in this pursuit by letting us know which other platforms they’d like to see ChakraCore supported on to help us prioritize future investments, or even by helping port it to the platform of their choice." Translation: please port it to Linux.

Microsoft will open its public GitHub repository for community contributions in January. At that time, it will provide more details on the project, its priorities, and how to contribute to the project. 

"The community is at the heart of any open source project, so we look forward to the community cloning the repository, inspecting the code, building it, and contributing everything from new functionality to tests or bug fixes," Seth wrote. "We also welcome suggestions on how to improve ChakraCore for particular scenarios that are important to you or your business."

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