Microsoft Open Sources Its JavaScript Engine As ‘ChakraCore’ – Here’s Why It’s A Big Thing


chakra open source javascript sShort Bytes: In December 2015, Microsoft announced that it would be open sourcing the key parts of its Chakra JavaScript engine that powers Edge browser. Making good on its promise, the company has finally made the source code of ChakraCode available under the MIT license at its GitHub repository. Redmond hopes that developers from across the world will contribute to the same and embed this technology in their applications.

The year 2015 was rife with the news of Microsoft embracing open source philosophy. The company open sourced its Visual Studio Code, Windows Bridge for iOS, and developed its own Linux-based operating system for Azure. Back in December 2015, Microsoft announced that it’s going to open source parts of its JavaScript engine Chakra used to power Microsoft Edge. While some were surprised to hear this announcement, others were ecstatic to realize that it was another step towards a new Microsoft.

Now, Microsoft has made good on its promise by open sourcing the parts of its Chakra JavaScript engine as ChakraCore. Under the MIT License, the source code of ChakraCore has been made available on ChakraCore GitHub repository.

What Is ChakraCore?

Before telling you about ChakraCore, it’s important to know about Chakra — the high-performance JavaScript engine that powers Microsoft’s new browser Microsoft Edge and other Windows applications written in JavaScript, HTML, or CSS. ChakraCore is an important part of Chakra engine that has been made open source.

Chakra was developed as a JavaScript engine in Internet Explorer 9 in 2010 to deliver a fast performance and great user experience. Now it has been evolved further to support Universal Windows apps across phones, Xbox, PC, or a tablet.

chakra chakracore parts js

Why open sourcing Chakra engine is a big step?

When Chakra was in its early development phase, its biggest consumers were the browsers. Since then, it has been extensively developed and now it powers scenarios ranging from cloud-based services, server applications, and Internet of Things. Over the time, it has also powered, Azure Document BB, and Cortana.

ChakraCore is a fully capable JavaScript virtual machine that has the same set of capabilities supported by Chakra. Microsoft says that they have received multiple requests from developers to open source the Chakra source code to enable them to embed Chakra in their applications.

Due to the availability under an MIT license, Chakra offers great flexibility allowing you to play with the code in a more independent way.

Hinting on the possibility of a future Windows 7 compatible Edge browser, Microsoft said that ChakraCore can be built on Windows 7 SP1 and above.

ChakraCore and Linux:

Redmond also said that ChakraCore will be eventually ported to Linux. “We are committed to bringing it to other platforms, starting with Linux, and will keep the roadmap updated with details and status updates as we make progress,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

As a result, Microsoft expects to release “an implementation of ChakraCore interpreter and runtime, no JIT, on x64 Ubuntu Linux 15.10” by June 2016.

This is an exciting news for JavaScript and open source community. Do tell us your views about this development in the comments below.

Ananda Verma

Ananda Verma

Writes for machines mostly. Sometimes for humans too.
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