[webkit-dev] WebKit branch to support multiple VMs (e.g., Dart)

Vijay Menon vsm at google.com
Mon Dec 5 09:26:24 PST 2011

Hi all,

Many languages compile to JavaScript today to run on the web.  As
alternative, we’ve been experimenting with enabling different language
runtimes in WebKit to run in web pages alongside JavaScript.

This could be used to support languages like Python, Java, Ruby, Lua, or -
what inspired us - Dart (www.dartlang.org).

Some reasons to consider additional runtimes include:

- Speed.  Many languages are faster than JavaScript when run natively
and/or do not compile to JavaScript efficiently.
- Developer choice.  Another runtime provides developers with more choice
without requiring them to use a toolchain.
- Development experience.  Languages supported directly in the browser can
have a significantly better debugging and profiling experience than they
can with compiled code.

We have a quite early patch of this work available here:

- multi-vm changes: http://codereview.chromium.org/8806015/
- dart bindings: http://codereview.chromium.org/8802010/

We’re planning to create a multi-vm branch on webkit.org to experiment with
this idea.  Our goal with this branch is to (a) demonstrate the above
points and (b) show that we can do this without degrading JavaScript
performance or the WebKit development experience.  If successful, we’d like
to submit these changes to WebKit trunk.  We welcome your feedback.


Anton Muhin
Pavel Podivilov
Vijay Menon
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