Internet Rivals Google, Microsoft Partner on New JavaScript Framework

By Jaikumar Vijayan  |  Posted 2015-03-08 Print this article Print
JavaScript Partners

Fierce Internet business rivals Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on integrating their separate JavaScript technologies into one common framework.

In an unlikely pairing, Microsoft and Google have agreed to work together on Angular 2, a new version of Google’s JavaScript application framework for building websites and applications.

Under the partnership, the companies will work on merging their two separate JavaScript technologies into one common platform.

Google will drop its work on AtScript, a JavaScript-based scripting language that was originally meant to be the language of the Angular 2 Web application framework. Instead it will take key features proposed in AtScript and integrate them into Microsoft’s rival TypeScript, which the partners have designated as the common language that will be used to develop Angular 2.

Members of Microsoft’s TypeScript team along with members of Google’s Angular team announced the collaboration at the ng-conf in Salt Lake City March 5.

S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the developer division at Microsoft said in a blog post that the two companies have been working together for the past several months to unify the separate technologies. “Today at ng-conf in Salt Lake City, the Angular and the TypeScript teams are unveiling the first fruits of that collaboration,” Somasegar wrote..

“We’re excited to announce that we have converged the TypeScript and AtScript languages, and that Angular 2, the next version of the popular JavaScript library for building websites and Web apps, will be developed with TypeScript.”

TypeScript has gained new language features as a result of the integration which simplifies Web application development significantly, according to Somasegar.

In a separate blog post, Jonathan Turner, program manager for Microsoft’s TypeScript team said developers will see the first results of the collaboration in the upcoming TypeScript 1.5 release.

Turner said the new features will help developers write cleaner code and include a new way to annotate class declarations using metadata. Such metadata annotations will allow application developers to more clearly separate application code from the information about the code, Turner said.

The collaboration between the two companies is somewhat surprising considering the intense rivalry that they have been engaged in for years. Microsoft and Google have competed intensely on various fronts, including cloud services, Web applications, browser software and in the battle for government customers.

Microsoft’s Scroogled marketing campaign was one of the most publicly visible manifestations of that rivalry. Launched in 2012, the campaign relentlessly lampooned Google’s business model as well as its data collection and targeted ad practices. The company even maintained a separate Web site and sold Scroogled merchandise parodying Google.

More recently, the Scroogled site appears to have been retired and replaced with a more generic “Why Microsoft” site where the company encourages users to compare its products and services with that from a long list of rivals including Google.

Judging by comments posted on Microsoft’s blog though, developers themselves seemed fairly happy at news of the collaboration with Google.

“This is epic news,” someone using the handle Bitcrazed said in response to Somasegar’s post. “Congratulations to the TypeScript and Angular teams. Collaboration like this is refreshing to see.”

“Thank goodness! The AtScript thing was just another annoying product from Google until now,” commenter Alex Dresko noted.

What could become an issue, though is if the new and improved Angular 2 offers no migration path for those on Google’s original Angular 1.x technology. When Google announced its plans for Angular 2, one big concern was how long the company would continue to support Angular 1.x, InfoQ noted in a report this week. Many saw the new technology as being a complete rewrite of the original.

“A huge complaint about Angular 2 was that there was no migration path,” InfoQ said.



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