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You are here: Home / Computing / MS Open Sources Edge Browser Core
Microsoft Goes Open Source on Key Part of Edge Browser Engine
Microsoft Goes Open Source on Key Part of Edge Browser Engine
By Jef Cozza / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
Redmond has decided to open source key components of Chakra, the JavaScript engine that powers its new Edge browser. Microsoft announced on Friday at the JSConf US Last Call in Florida that it would be uploading the source code to a GitHub repository next month.

The decision will give developers in the open source community the chance to get a peek under the hood of one of Microsoft’s key software products. The Microsoft Edge browser recently replaced the long-standing Internet Explorer when it was released as the default Web browser for Windows 10 earlier this year.

About Face on Open Source

The move to open source represents a major shift for Microsoft, which has fought tooth-and-nail against the open source movement, even as other technology companies, including Google, have pulled the curtain back on some of their core code.

“We’re investing more than ever in improving Chakra, and are excited to team up with our community to drive further improvements,” Microsoft said in a blog post. The company said it has also already received interest from a number of major technology companies, including Intel, AMD, and NodeSource, which are interested in contributing to the code.

Chakra is a JavaScript engine that Microsoft has been working on since 2008. Besides powering the Edge browser, it also supports apps in stores, server-side applications, cloud-based services, NoSQL databases, game engines, front-end tools, and the Internet of Things. That includes other such Microsoft products as Azure DocumentDB, Cortana, and

Not Just for Windows

ChakraCore (pictured), the nucleus of the Chakra engine, is a self-contained JavaScript virtual engine that can be embedded in other products and applications to extend the reach of JavaScript on a server with platforms such Node.js and cloud-based services. Although ChakraCore is a major component behind the Edge browser, it is capable of executing JavaScript code without depending on the rest of Edge’s code.

According to the company, ChakraCore shares the same set of capabilities that are supported by Chakra in Microsoft Edge, with two key differences. First, it does not expose Chakra’s private bindings to the browser or the Universal Windows Platform.

Second, rather than expose the COM-based (component object model-based) diagnostic APIs that are currently available in Chakra, ChakraCore will support a new set of modern diagnostic APIs that will be platform agnostic and could eventually be standardized or made interoperable across different implementations.

The company has said that it foresees a number of potential applications for the Chakra engine, including working with community developers to bring support for the engine to platforms other than Windows. “While the initial January release will be Windows-only, we are committed to bringing ChakraCore to other platforms in the future,” Microsoft said in a statement.

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