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

Oliver Hunt oliver at apple.com
Mon Dec 5 13:36:26 PST 2011

What is the benefit to the project in exposing an additional (non standardized) language to the web?  All the bindings that webkit currently provides to are either standardized EcmaScript or platform specific bindings used by native code developers embedding webkit.

Adding an additional web facing language (that isn't standardized) doesn't seem beneficial to the project, if anything it seems harmful (cf. VBScript in IE).

Anyway if we were to add an additional language the language people have been asking for for years is Python which is already extremely popular and well known so it seems that it would be a much better choice to expose, but even then it seems like a bad idea.


On Dec 5, 2011, at 1:22 PM, Vijay Menon wrote:

> Hi Per,
> At a high-level, the idea is pretty simple.  We want to be able to run another VM along a JS one.  For example, if we see a Dart script on a web page, we want the Dart VM to be able to handle it.  If we see a JS script, we want the JS one to handle it.  Similarly, if an event listener on a page is triggered, we want to forward to the appropriate VM to run the user listener code.
> The changes here are mostly about refactoring some classes (e.g., ScriptController, ScheduledAction) to add that extra dispatch.
> I'm not familiar enough with the JavaFX model, but this may be useful if you want to provide direct access from Java to the DOM via Java bindings.  Do you have a pointer on how you're handling multiple VMs in WebKit today?
> Cheers,
> Vijay
> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 12:50 PM, Per Bothner <per.bothner at oracle.com> wrote:
> On 12/05/2011 09:26 AM, Vijay Menon wrote:
> We’re planning to create a multi-vm branch on webkit.org
> <http://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.
> What is there to provide feedback on?  Asking people to provide feedback
> on a huge patch dump seems unreasonable.
> Why did you choose the approach you did?
> Is there a planning document or white-paper?
> What changes did you make at a *high* level - not a set of patches?
> Did you run into problems or have to decide between alternative solutions?
> This may be interesting to the webnode portion of Oracle's JavaFX. We
> already have to deal with multiple VMs: The JSC JavaScript VM and the Java VM.
> Having a standard and more efficient way of combining them might be helpful.
> Likewise more direct access from Java to the WebKit core might be helpful,
> though the standard DOM bindings don't require JavaScript.
> I don't know if a WebKit port using Nashorn (Oracle's next-generation JavaScript
> implementation on the JVM) will be helped by a multi-VM WebKit, or make it
> irrelevant (from Oracle's point of view, of course).
> -- 
>        --Per Bothner
> per.bothner at oracle.com   per at bothner.com   http://per.bothner.com/
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