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Microsoft’s Chakra JavaScript engine debuts on Linux

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Microsoft Chakra JavaScript on Linux

Microsoft has announced that it is bringing its open source ChakraCore to Linux. The core of the Chakra JavaScript engine is already powering the company’s Edge web browser and Universal Windows Platform system.

At the Node.js-centric NodeSummit, Microsoft showcased the first experimental implementation of ChakraCore interpreter and runtime on x64 Linux and OS X 10.9. The Redmond company also previewed an experimental Node.js version with ChakraCore engine on x64 Linux.

“Bringing ChakraCore to Linux and OS X is all about giving developers the ability to build cross-platform applications with the engine. The JavaScript Runtime (JSRT) APIs to host ChakraCore were originally designed for Windows, so they inevitably had a few Windows dependencies – for example, Win32 usage of UTF16-LE encoding for strings, where other platforms might use UTF8-encoded strings,” Microsoft writes in a blog post.

Microsoft ChakraCore JavaScript engine on Linux

Microsoft’s ChakraCore on Linux and Mac OS X

To deliver cross-platform support on ChakraCore, Microsoft refactored and redesigned some the major JSRT APIs. Additionally, the JavaScript engine has backwards compatibility with the previous set of JSRT APIs on Windows.

Expanding Node.js reach

Apart from bringing the same JavaScript experience to Linux that was previously featured on Windows 10, Microsoft is aiming to grow the reach of Node.js ecosystem through its Node-ChakraCore.

“It has been a little over a year since we started working on Node-ChakraCore, with the intention to grow the reach of Node.js ecosystem. One of the fundamental goals of this project from the beginning has been to ensure that the existing ecosystem continues to just work, in an open and cross-platform way exactly like Node.js,” the company adds.

Cross-platform efforts

Microsoft is updating its ChakraCore roadmap to enhance its cross-platform support. Moreover, the software giant is in development to bring a “fully-capable” ChakraCore JIT compiler and Windows-exclusive concurrent and partial GC to other platforms. These new efforts are likely to improve the performance of Node.js and other applications hosting ChakraCore engine.

Developers have started using ChakraCore for their projects on GitHub. These developments help Microsoft fix and advance the engine for multiple computing platforms.