​The Linux Foundation strives to unite open-source JavaScript community

The next generation of open-source JavaScript programming has begun under the aegis of the JS Foundation.

In London, at OSCon Europe, The Linux Foundation announced that the JS Foundation is now a Linux Foundation Project. This next generation of the JQuery Foundation is committed to help JavaScript application and server-side projects. It will do this by cultivating best practices and policies that promote high-quality standards and long-term sustainability.


The newly formed JS Foundation is working on uniting the open-source JavaScript development groups.

Image: iStock

Kris Borchers, the JS Foundation executive director and former head of the JQuery Foundation, explained in his keynote speech: "We've been supporting a lot more than jQuery [a popular fast, mall, and feature-rich JavaScript library] for a long time, so the rebrand is to better reflect that. This also signals this effort to start creating a center of gravity for open source JavaScript."

JavaScript is a high-level programming language, which is often used in web applications. While the language itself has been standardized in the vendor-neutral ECMAScript language specification, the programs that use JavaScript are another matter -- and, one that the JS Foundation hopes to bring some rhyme and reason to.

Today, JavaScript developers rely on a growing, but messy, portfolio of open-source technologies to create, test, and deploy critical applications. The JS Foundation aims to drive broad adoption and ongoing development of key JavaScript solutions and related technologies.

One reason the foundation is trying to do this is to prevent repeats of the Koçulu JavaScript fiasco. In that, a disgruntled developer deleted a small but vital Node.js program. This caused thousands of JavaScript programs to break.

"The JS Foundation aims to support a vast array of technologies that complement projects throughout the entire JavaScript ecosystem," said Borchers. "JavaScript is a pervasive technology, blurring the boundaries between server, client, cloud, and IoT. We welcome any projects, organizations or developers looking to help bolster the JavaScript community and inspire the next wave of growth for application development."

IBM, one of the founding partners, is enthusiastic about the project. "This is an exciting time for the JavaScript community," said Angel Diaz, IBM's VP of Cloud Technology and Architecture, in a statement. "By bringing together the community around core platform technologies and the application tier with the JS Foundation, the industry is establishing a center of gravity to drive innovation in the open through code, collaboration, and community development. We're proud to continue our long tradition of supporting open tech communities."

Microsoft, which just started pushing its open-source TypeScript 2.0, a superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript, is not a member.

According to Borchers, "the JS Foundation is focused on mentoring projects across the entire JavaScript spectrum: client and server side application libraries; mobile application testing frameworks; JavaScript engines; and technologies pushing the boundaries of the JavaScript ecosystem."

The Initial JS Foundation projects are:

  • Appium, contributed by Sauce Labs, an open-source Node.js server used for automating native, mobile web, and hybrid applications on iOS, Android, and the Universal Windows Platform. Appium also expands JS Foundation's current test framework and tooling offerings into the device automation space.

  • Interledger.js, contributed by Ripple, enables instant payments and micropayments in any currency, across many payment networks using the Interledger Protocol (ILP). By supporting this project, the JS Foundation is encouraging application developers to consider new standardized ways to think about payments on the web.

  • JerryScript, contributed by Samsung, is a lightweight, fully-featured JavaScript engine for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of JavaScript. JerryScript is just the beginning of JS Foundation's efforts to support IoT projects and developers.

  • Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript testing framework providing a command-line interface for Node.js as well as in-browser testing capabilities. The JS Foundation is bringing Mocha under its mentorship, alongside Lodash, to ensure that many JavaScript application cornerstones will be supported long into the future.

  • Moment.js is a lightweight JavaScript date library for parsing, validating, manipulating, and formatting dates. It also provides time zone support to JavaScript through Moment Timezone. Another cornerstone of the JavaScript ecosystem, Moment.js helps empower developers to build amazing JavaScript applications. By supporting Moment.js alongside projects like Globalize and Jed, the JS Foundation hopes to foster collaboration for internationalization and formatting.

  • Node-RED, contributed by IBM, is a flow-based programming environment built on Node.js. It's commonly used in the IoT space. Node-RED is aimed at creating event-driven applications that can easily integrate APIs and services. Node-RED will be a major factor in the JS Foundation's efforts to support the full end-to-end JavaScript software stack.

  • Webpack is a bundler for modules and is primarily used to bundle JavaScript files for usage in a browser. It is also capable of transforming, bundling, or packaging just about any resource or asset.

JS Foundation will also build on the work of standards bodies, such as W3C, WHATWG, and ECMAScript. The JS Foundation will also work closely with the Node.js Foundation. In short, the JS Foundation is not trying to reinvent the JavaScript wheel. It's trying to improve it.

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