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13 August 2012, 15:32

Prototype JavaScript framework 1.7.1 arrives after 18 months

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Prototype logo In November 2010, the developers of the JavaScript framework Prototype made a stable release of version 1.7 and laid out plans for the next bugfix ( and minor release (1.7.1) of the code. Now, 18 months later, those two releases have been rolled together with the tagging, release and announcement of Prototype 1.7.1 by Andrew Dupont.

Among the changes since 1.7: a complete rewrite of the JavaScript library's dom.js module bringing it into line with the rest of the library, fixing event based memory leaks, consolidating tasks, removing redundant code and making the entire thing more readable with more comments for browser specific workarounds.

The library has also been rewritten to be more compatible with ECMAScript 5 (ES5) after a number of methods popularised by the library were incorporated into the standard. These include array methods like map, some, every and filter, which have been rewritten to the ES5 specification. Prototype can now act as a "polyfill" for browsers that do not support ES5, while being inert on browsers where it is natively supported.

Explaining why the minor release took so long, Dupont pointed out that he is now the only person who works on the code on a regular basis and that tends to involve "months of inaction followed by a flurry of commits and bug fixes – it’s fair to say that Prototype hibernates for long periods of time". Dupont reassures users that he has no plans to stop working on Prototype but can't commit to any release schedules or milestones.

Dupont invites developers interested in working on the code with specific fixes in mind to make them and issue a GitHub pull request on the project's repository. Dupont notes that Prototype 2 is "vaporware", existing only as a "collection of ideas contributed over the years by the Prototype core team and trusted friends" and that it is currently on the back burner as he focuses on working towards Prototype 1.8.

Prototype 1.7.1 is available to download and API documentation is online. Prototype is MIT licensed open source.


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