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JavaScript: Article

Google Open Sources its JavaScript Tools

Google says the Closure widgetry is a key part of the JavaScript infrastructure behind its web apps

Cloud Computing Journal

Google Thursday open sourced its Closure JavaScript tools – a compiler, a cross-browser, server-agnostic library and a bunch of precompiled templates – in the name of making web apps easier to build.

Recall that Gmail, Google Docs and Google Maps are JavaScript-intensive applications. Well, Google says the Closure widgetry is a key part of the JavaScript infrastructure behind its web apps. And the more web apps, the more of a headache for Microsoft and its ilk.

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Developers can take a command-line approach to the compiler, or go through a web application that Google’s provided that accepts code to be compiled through a text box or a RESTful API. It’s also offering a Firefox extension that shows off the performance enhancements.

Google said to think of the Closure Templates as small components used to form a user interface, instead of having to create one big template per page. They’re implemented for both JavaScript and Java, so the same templates can be used on both on the server and client side.

The Closure Compiler is described as a JavaScript optimizer that compiles web apps down into compact, high-performance JavaScript code. It removes dead code, then rewrites and minimizes what’s left so it will run fast on browser JavaScript engines.

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It also checks syntax, variable references and types, and warns about common JavaScript pitfalls. Using it should mean apps that are less buggy and easier to maintain. It can be used with Closure Inspector, a Firebug extension that Google says “makes debugging the obfuscated code almost as easy as debugging the human-readable source.”

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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