Microsoft unveils TypeScript

Microsoft has announced TypeScript, which it calls “a language for application-scale JavaScript development”. The new release is a “typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript,” and Microsoft believes its new product hits the sweet spot in remaining open and standards-compliant but also in enabling development to be more efficient and productive.

Microsoft Technical Fellow Anders Hejlsberg said in a video on MSDN that “TypeScript is really about starting with JavaScript and then strengthening it with the features that are lacking for application-scale development […] and then building excellent tooling around those capabilities.” He explained that the language was a reaction to the big upswing in JavaScript programming over the past five years, and also to the fact that it’s hard to write large applications in JavaScript. Hejlsberg noted JavaScript was never engineered to be a programming language for large apps, and that it lacks key structuring capabilities. He added that people often write in a different language and then cross-compile, but doing so “puts you at an arm’s length from JavaScript” and makes it hard to use existing libraries, something TypeScript solves.

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