TypeScript: an open and interoperable language

Today Microsoft announced the release of the TypeScript preview, a new open and interoperable language for application scale JavaScript development. The TypeScript compiler is available as open source on CodePlex.

TypeScript is a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript. TypeScript starts and ends in JavaScript. You can read more details in Soma’s blog, on the TypeScript site and on CodePlex.

So, how is TypeScript open?

The TypeScript language is made available under the Open Web Foundation’s OWFa 1.0 Specification Agreement, and the community is invited to discuss the language specification. Microsoft’s implementation of the compiler is also available on CodePlex under the Apache 2.0 license. There you can view the roadmap, and over the next few weeks and months you’ll see the TypeScript team continue to develop on CodePlex in the open.

TypeScript builds upon the good work happening in the TC39 committee, which determines the direction of the ECMAScript standard, the formal standard for JavaScript. Microsoft continues to work with the committee to evolve the language and runtime capabilities. Should the community desire the TypeScript team to go even further and submit TypeScript to the standards body, the team is open to that too.

And how is it interoperable?

All JavaScript is TypeScript, such that you can literally copy-and-paste from an existing JavaScript program into a TypeScript file. You can also create TypeScript declare files to annotate the types for existing libraries, enabling great tooling experiences without having to modify the libraries themselves (the TypeScript team has included TypeScript files to declare the types for several popular JavaScript libraries like jQuery, MongoDB, and the DOM). Over the coming weeks, we plan to partner with developer communities that create these libraries to ensure that the TypeScript files that declare the types support the best developer experience.

Because TypeScript produces standards-compliant JavaScript, TypeScript is consistent with Microsoft’s commitment to Same Markup and an interoperable web: the output of the TypeScript compiler runs on any browser, in any host, on any operating system. Further, it already plugs into your existing JavaScript toolchain (minifiers, lint checkers, build systems, command line tools).

Last but not least, you will see on the site that you can develop TypeScript code using the online playground tool or Visual Studio 2012. But this is not it! You can also use Sublime Text, Vim or eMacs as the team has kicked off work on syntax files for these popular editors JavaScript developers love to use. And as the specification is public, anyone can create their own syntax files for other editors as well.

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Give your feedback

TypeScript is one foray into making programming languages and tooling even more productive. Pick it up, take it for a spin, and give your feedback. You can contribute by discussing the language specification or filing a bug.

Olivier Bloch
Senior Technical Evangelist
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.