Microsoft delivers biggest update to date to TypeScript

Microsoft delivers biggest update to date to TypeScript

Summary: Microsoft updates its superset of JavaScript, known as TypeScript, with a slew of new features, including the addition of generics.


Microsoft made available to testers on June 18 of what's likely one of the last preview builds of its TypeScript language, compiler and tools.


TypeScript .9 is available for download from the TypeScript site. The latest update, which Microsoft officials described as the biggest TypeScript preview update to date, includes a bunch of new features in the language, compiler and associated tools.

The biggest new feature is the addition of generics, which allow developers to take advantage of better static error reporting and improved tooling "in many cases without any additional type annotations," officials said. The TypeScript compiler also has been re-engineered so it works better with large projects (in excess of 100,000 lines of code) in an interactive environment.

TypeScript, a Microsoft-developed superset of JavaScript, is available under an Apache 2.0 open-source license. Microsoft launched the first preview build of TypeScript in October 2012.

TypeScript was developed by a team of about 50. Among the core team members are Microsoft Technical Fellow Anders Hejlsberg, the father of C# and TurboPascal; Microsoft Technical Fellow Steve Lucco; and Program Manager Luke Hoban, who has worked, in the past, on the JavaScript language and development experience. A new Channel 9 video featuring these three execs talking about what the team has learned since fielding the first preview of TypeScript is embedded below.

I asked Microsoft when we should expect the first "non-preview"/gold version of TypeScript. No word back so far, but I'd assume it will be in the coming few months, given the preview cadence.

Update: Microsoft officials are saying TypeScript 1.0 will ship "later this year."

Topics: Software Development, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Anybody

    actually using this? I'm not and don't see a lot of value out of it.
    • I know people who are using it

      TypeScript makes it easier to work with big JS projects (with lots of code, classes etc.)

      Of course there are good alternatives too (e.g. CoffeeScript).
      • I just added it to my VS 2012

        The awesomeness of it is obvious. The fact that it is so closed to JS means you don't get a cludge out the other end, but can still work in a normalized fashion (typed vars, generics for list generation, structs, etc.)
      • How CoffeeScript could be an alternative to TypeScript?

        TypeScript is statically typed, CoffeeScript is dynamically typed. TypeScript is about ease of support and refactoring, CoffeeScript is about syntactic sugar and less typing. These are completely different languages, not alternatives to each other.
    • Yes

      And it rocks. Makes projects that use a lot of JS (most projects these days) much more manageable.
    • You don't see the value?

      I'm guessing you don't do much with JS then. This is very cool stuff.
  • "Type"script?

    Going to be a lot of disappointed typographers and graphic designers. Given how "good" they are at those things, this is probably Microsoft's idea of irony.
    • re:

      TypeScript has nothing to do with typography.

      JavaScript is a client side computer language that runs in browsers. Its syntax and constructs make it very similar to an interpreted version of the C programming language, only without strong data types. TypeScript is a pre-compiler for JavaScript (similar to how C++ was originally implemented as a pre-compiler for C) that allows developers to use strong data types and reusable classes in order to facilitate a degree of object oriented programming when writing client side code. We seem to be stuck with the relatively primitive JavaScript for client side code forever. The goal of TypeScript is to at least give us a bit more of what we developers have come to expect from more sophisticated languages like C#.
      Sir Name
    • TypeScript has nothing to do with typography, but...

      Microsoft worked with Apple on TrueType. I doubt that TrueType would have taken off the way it had if Microsoft had not been involved. It certainly established a standard since that time for digital typography (and weened the world from Adobe's proprietary formats).

      Microsoft also invented ClearType. It hasn't had a wide adoption outside of Microsoft (it's bound up in MSFT patents), but it sure has made typography on Windows much more pleasant to the eye. The reason that the Surface team was saying that their screens were somewhat comparable to Apple's "Retina" displays were, in a large part, due to the sub-pixel rendering that ClearType does.

      If you have a laptop, try looking at text with and without ClearType (in Windows 7, press Start and type "ClearType" (which should pop up "Adjust ClearType" as the choice - choose it), and then play around).
  • "Microsoft updates its superset of JavaScript, known as TypeScript"

    Embrace, extend, and extinguish?
    • Actually, it does embrace and extend

      However, unlike some Google client-side scripting initiatives, it doesn't appear to have "extinguish" in its toolset.

      It generates idiomatic JavaScript/ECMAscript. If you start using it and decide it's not for you, you can throw out the TypeScript source and just keep and maintain the output script. It's also a strict superset of ECMAscript - which makes interoperabililty with just about anything you already have very smooth.
    • it's not a replacement for Javascript

      It's a compiler that creates javascript. It enforces types at compile-time so you avoid runtime errors.
    • badly written...

      The article is a bit badly written in my opinion. It does not extend Javascript. It's a language that COMPILES to javascript, but gives you type checking, strong typing, generics and so forth in the build step, instead of you having to rely on only runtime checking of javascript.
      Henning Kilset
      • It's a strict superset of Javascript

        It's a strict superset of JavaScript. Yes is compiles to JS those features that are not JS compatible. But if you take an existing piece of JS, it will compile in TypeScript. That's why they say it extends JavaScript
  • Microsoft has done a good thing (this time)!

    It is obvious from some of the comments that people are skeptical that something from Microsoft is actually worthwhile and not part of some cynical plot. However, in this case Microsoft has really done a good job. It delivers the future version of JavaScript now. They have pledged to update it to follow the still developing next version of JavaScript. I really don't see how Microsoft will get much advantage from this except in goodwill and using it in their own projects.