BT

6to5 JavaScript Transpiler Changes Name to Babel

| by David Iffland Follow 4 Followers on Feb 16, 2015. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

In an expected move, the JavaScript transpiler 6to5 has been renamed to Babel.

There are a lot of complaints about 6to5 not being "future proof". Many are under the assumption that 6to5 will be a stopgap solution until ES6 is supported. I don't agree. I believe that there are things that 6to5 can expand upon to not only become future proof but to potentially influence future standards. 6to5 will always be necessary if you want next generation features.

says Babel creator Sebastian McKenzie.

Because of this forward looking view, the team decided that the 6to5 name wasn't sending the right message about the project's goals. Adding to the trouble is the fact that ES6 has been renamed ECMAScript 2015. To eliminate the discussion and concern about 6to5's future, the team has decided to rename it Babel.

In a long discussion, the team and the community discussed possible names, eventually agreeing on Babel in a nod to the Babel fish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which is itself a reference to the story of the Tower of Babel.

The name 6to5 made me feel really uncomfortable about the project's future and it was already completely wrong since 6to5 already supported ES7 and JSX. I'd constantly get people surprised that 6to5 supported JSX out of the box and people would tell me what was and wasn't in the project scope because the name 6to5 implied only ES6.

McKenzie said.

Unlike the original 6to5 name, Babel is neither original nor descriptive. McKenzie himself doesn't seem completely sold on the idea. "It isn't as bad as most of the other suggestions," he said. But, the discussion highlights the difficulty in naming a project intended to solve an important and widespread problem. The community's reaction to the name change has been mixed.

Babel is a JavaScript transpiler originally used for converting ES6 code into ES5 code. It is available on GitHub and at babeljs.io.

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