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25 June 2012, 17:13

Opa is 1.0

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Opa logo A year after its release as open source, the developers of the web application framework Opa have announced version 1.0 of the platform. Opa itself is a single framework for building web applications and automatically "slices" code between client and server. According to the developers, thanks to its static typing Opa programs are largely immune from SQL and code injections and XSS attacks and able to scale well due to the concurrent, non-blocking architecture.

Opa itself is a statically typed programming language which compiles to JavaScript using an OCaml compiler. The language is also HTML aware, allowing unquoted HTML fragments and CSS selectors to be used freely. With version 1.0 of the Opa framework, a complete JavaScript stack has been built around Node.js and MongoDB; the original Opa release had its own native backend, but the developers were asked to support existing runtime technologies. They selected Node.js as it was also the most requested platform. As Opa is now able to generate JavaScript applications, the developers bill it as "the most advanced framework ever built for JavaScript".

Among the features built in is automatic client/server/database distribution, automatic code re-writing to ensure that Node.js application code does not hang and heavy type inference to make static typing easy. The developers are making their future roadmaps public and say that Opa 1.1 will feature improved standard libraries and APIs, better error messages from the compiler and enhanced performance from the Node.js backend.

Opa was developed as a project of a team of researchers and engineers and most of the development takes place at MLState, one of Opa's sponsors and is also supported by French startup Plug Up. Opa is available to download for 64-bit Mac OS X, Windows, Ubuntu and other Linux platforms. 32-bit platforms should be built from the source. Opa is published under the Affero GPL and its source can also be found on its GitHub repository.


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