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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Enterprise JavaScript with Jangaroo at PLASTIC / SPLASH 2011

While almost one year ago, we talked about "Jangaroo - AS3 w/o FlashPlayer", we thought it was about time to stress the other story, namely using Jangaroo for creating large-scale JavaScript applications. Because that's what we do very successfully at CoreMedia.
Several people (thanks Florian, Martin!) pointed us at a very fitting call for papers of the PLASTIC workshop at the SPLASH 2011. It is about Programming Languages And Systems Technologies for Internet Clients, with a focus on "compilation and runtime techniques for Internet client programming languages". Andreas kicked off the paper, Olaf and Dennis supported with proof-reading, LaTeX support and helpful comments, and I fleshed out the text and extended the parts of my expertise, namely the runtime, libraries, and build process. The paper, entitled Enterprise JavaScript with Jangaroo --
Using ActionScript 3 for JavaScript ”Programming in the Large”
, was accepted and can be downloaded here.
On 24th of October, I presented the corresponding talk at the PLASTIC workshop in Portland, Oregon. To not bore the part of the audience who already read the paper (maybe the empty set?), the slides show a third category of "how to execute another programming language in the browser", since providing a client-side interpreter seems to be a hot topic (mostly because of Google swiffy, but there are others, too). But have a look at the slides for yourself.
Before starting with the slides, I showed off the demos Box2D and Open Flash Charts, which I admit are a bit off-topic, since they rather belong to the "port Flash applications to HTML5" story than to "Enterprise JavaScript", but hey, they are always good to get people's attention ;-).
I hope I could get across what Jangaroo is able to, and got some interesting feedback. Adam Welc (Co-Chair of the workshop, in his other life working on Flash at Adobe) pointed me to another Flash-related Open Source projects, lightspark, which might help in getting on with Jangaroo's Flash re-implementation JooFlash.
People liked the way Jangaroo keeps the generated code close to the source, even keeping line numbers to allow source-level debugging.
The most motivating part when visiting a workshop or conference is of course about meeting people. I remembered Google's Mark Miller from the Ajax Experience 2009 in Boston, who here at PLASTIC co-authored a paper about traits.js: recommended read! Christian Hammer, Andreas Gampe, Aiman Erbad and several others also presented and we had interesting discussions. Was nice getting to know you guys!
Another JavaScript guru I also met first on Ajax Experience is Rik Arends, then at, who now does a wonderful job over at Cloud9IDE. I tell you he's one of the good guys (even if we disagree on where to use typed languages and compilers)!
Finally, I loved the key note of David Ungar, Everything You Know (about Parallel Programming) Is Wrong! A Wild Screed about the Future; he really is a great presenter! Using Romeo and Juliet as an example of parallel actions that went wrong (and might have ended up "hunky-dory" in a different sequentialization) is really funky...