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26 November 2012, 17:36

Nashorn proposed as new JavaScript engine for OpenJDK

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Java dvelopment After some time in preparation, Oracle has now proposed a new project for OpenJDK called Nashorn. The Nashorn project sets out to implement a lightweight high-performance JavaScript runtime in Java which runs on the JVM. Under the direction of Jim Laskey, Multi-language Lead at Oracle, and John Coomes, OpenJDK HotSpot Group Lead, the proposal is to create a JavaScript implementation that can run standalone JavaScript applications or be called via the JSR 223 APIs by Java applications. Nashorn, German for Rhino, will be designed to take advantage of newer JVM technologies such as MethodHandles and InvokeDynamic APIs, which were introduced to make dynamic languages operate faster on the JVM.

The developers plan to create a parse API to scan JavaScript code and generate ASTs (Abstract Syntax Trees) from the code which can then be fed to a compiler that will convert the ASTs to JVM byte code. They aim to create a JavaScript implementation, using this environment, which will be compatible with ECMA-262 and ECMAScript 5.1. The source code for the project already exists as an Oracle internal project, which will be entirely transferred to the OpenJDK project. The code is said to pass the ECMAScript test262 suite with a 100% rating and the initial work within the OpenJDK project will be to enhance performance and harden the platform so it can be put up for consideration for general use.

A Nashorn blog has also been created to go with the proposal and voting has now begun. Only current OpenJDK members are eligible to vote on whether Nashorn will become part of the OpenJDK project; the vote runs until 6 December.


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