Podcast: Microsoft on ECMAScript, IE 8

Dion Almaer just posted the fourth episode of the Open Web Podcast in which we sat down with Allen Wirfs-Brock and Pratap lakshman and discussed ECMAScript and Internet Explorer 8.

The full release notes, from Dion, are below:

Allen Wirfs-Brock is the standards guy from Microsoft who sits and works on ECMA. Pratap Lakshman is from the JScript team, and works on the ECMAScript 3.1 committee.

They were gracious enough to joined us on the call to discuss the recent new around ECMAScript Harmony, how Microsoft feels about it, work that is being done in IE 8, performance, and tangents into ideas behind the Open Web.

You can download the podcast directly (OGG format too), or subscribe to the series, including via iTunes).

When a beta of IE 8 comes out, we all download it quickly to find out what was added, what wasn’t, and also making sure that our tricks weren’t taken away!

The guys talked about the Object.defineProperty support added in IE8b2. Allen clarified the implementation details on how this has been added to hosted DOM objects and not JavaScript “native” objects. The team has been working on “end to end performance” issues, and have done a lot of work on the DOM. They also mentioned how we should expect a new set of technology to run JavaScript in the future. It has to happen, they have to join the new performance world with TraceMonkey, V8, and SquirrelFish (Extreme).

The better environments to run JavaScript dovetail nicely with the ability to have JavaScript become more self-hosting, which was discussed in some depth. They also mentioned the goal in IE8 to have JavaScript developers not requiring to do special work for IE, and a bunch of bugs have been fixed around this core issue. What about core DOM event support? John brought up that with the addition of DOM prototypes, that this could be added by libraries, and that this hook could be used for a lot of good.

We were also led into discussing the disconnect between the ECMA standard and the W3C standard, primarily the DOM and JavaScript. Pratap was a little disturbed that the ECMAScript spec only had a few words on DOM, and some banter occurred around the role of JavaScript as being the One True Open Web language, or whether there is a place for the polyglots.

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Posted: September 9th, 2008

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