Brendan Eich spills the beans on next two JavaScript upgrades

Work progresses in parallel on versions 6 and 7 of underlying ECMAScript specification, with version 6 due by end of 2014

Developers are moving forward on the next two planned versions of ECMAScript, the official specification underlying JavaScript, said Brendan Eich this week. Plans call for the ECMAScript 6 specification to be done by the end of next year with work in parallel happening on the subsequent ES7 release, Eich -- who also happens to be JavaScript's inventor -- said at the QCon conference in San Francisco.

Mozilla's browser support page for ES6 lists numerous programming capabilities planned, including arrow functions and spread operators. An arrow function has a shorter syntax compared to function expressions and are anonymous; spread operators allow an expression to be expanded in places where multiple arguments for functions or multiple elements for array literals are expected. ES7, meanwhile, will have such capabilities as Object.observ, providing a way of observing objects that is not a proxy.

Citing other Web-related developments, Eich said WebRTC, a specification equipping browsers with real-time communications apps via JavaScript APIs and HTML5, would become a standard. The work of Google, Mozilla, and the IETF will make this standardization happen, said Eich, currently CTO at Mozilla. "It's really cool, and you can use it for data communications, too," he said, noting that browser support for WebRTC varies, with Mozilla's Firefox a bit behind Google Chrome.

Eich also mentioned Mozilla's Servo project, a prototype Web browser engine written in the Rust language and offering parallelism. Eich demonstrated Servo running an animated stretching cat in one sandbox iframe while a rotor turned in another iframe, with the processes running concurrently. Mozilla plans to make Servo into a product in a couple of years.

Eich emphasized his support of the Extensible Web Manifesto, which seeks to change how Web standards committees develop and prioritize new features. One main goal is to get standards bodies out of developing technologies like libraries and APIs "because they're pretty poor at it," Eich said, pointing out that GitHub should be doing such things. The manifesto seeks to tighten the feedback loop between Web standards editors and Web developers.

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