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Browsix brings Unix to web browser

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Browsix

To let developers build applications without installing any bulky software, Browsix has emerged as a one-stop solution. The framework offers the essence of Unix to enable web app development on any compatible system, irrespective of any particular build or version.

Browsix comes as a JavaScript-only framework to provide developers with extensive JavaScript runtimes for C, C++, Go and Node.js. There is also a POSIX-like shell that eases app development.

Initially developed as a research project by the PLASMA lab at the University of Massachusetts, Browsix comes with the capabilities to convert a client-server application to run completely in a browser. It has TypeScript kernel behind the scenes, alongside the runtimes for open source languages such as C, C++ and Go.

“The core of Browsix is a kernel that controls access to shared Unix services. Unix services, including the shared file system, pipes, sockets, and task structures, live inside the kernel, which runs in the main browser thread,” the Massachusetts University team, consists of Boby Powers, John Vilk and Emery D. Berger, writes in a detailed research paper.

Browsix enables developers to integrate a MemeGenerator-like meme server into the browser with no-code modifications. Additionally, there is just need to modify the existing HTML code to load and initialise the Browsix JavaScript library.

Developers can convert their existing web applications for Browsix using a process that comprises the compilation of the code to JavaScript, stagging the files required by the application to place in the in-browser filesystem and then add setup code to the core HTML file.

The Browsix code can be accessed directly from a GitHub repository. It also includes necessary license files and documentation.