Microsoft has released an alpha version of their new JScript for .NET. The new “Managed JScript” and is currently being developed for use with a browser plug-in. More interesting than that is that C# works in the browser too, along with Python. They have plans to release a version of Ruby and Visual Basic as well. The release comes as a part of Microsoft’s new technology called Silverlight.This plug-in technology is currently working in Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer; and on both Windows and the Mac.
The new plug-in augments the browser by giving it a subset(and a superish-set) of Microsoft’s latest Windows technology. This 4 – 5 meg download includes powerful vector graphics, web service connections, stream handling, animation support, server callback support, and HD video/ WMA/MP3.
One of the underlying possibilities that that enables is the ability for developers to write in a single, consistent language on the client and the server for the web. This is really a new concept for dynamic languages on the web and Microsoft is doing it in a big way. With Silverlight you would be able to program in Ruby on the server and on the client, or C# on both as well; that is, when Silverlight 1.1 is released. Right now, only Python and JScript are available in an “alpha” release which cannot be used in a production environment.
The new language capability is connected to Microsoft’s commitment to supporting a broad set of programming languages. This time, dynamic languages are coming to play in the new Dynamic Language Runtime extension, or the “DLR”. This will, no doubt, be a big deal to Microsoft’s Visual Basic 6 hold-outs who never did give up their “variants”. It appears that they were right to wait. I think they are going to like the new “VBx”.
The DLR, as an extension to the .NET framework, makes the dynamic set of languages available on the server-side as well as the client-side.
I have posted a new unit testing framework called JSXUnit. This framework is actually a port of JSNUnit 2.7. To be honest, it only took me about 20 minutes to port because Managed JScript is really the same one as we find on the browser. It is tricky to figure out how to program sometimes because the documentation for the library hasn’t been produced yet, but it is just an alpha, and a promising one at that.