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InfoQ Homepage News ChakraCore Now Works on Linux and Mac OS

ChakraCore Now Works on Linux and Mac OS

Microsoft has demonstrated ChakraCore running on Linux and Mac OS X, and Node.js/ChakraCore on Linux.

We reported six months ago the open sourcing of the Chakra engine and Microsoft’s intention to port it to other platforms and to make Node.js run on it. Yesterday, during the Node Summit 2016 taking place in San Francisco these days, Microsoft demonstrated ChakraCore running both on Linux x64 and Mac OS X 10.9+ along with a still experimental Node.js running on ChakraCore on Linux x64.

Microsoft’s desire behind this cross-platform effort is to help developers write applications that run both on Windows UWP and other platforms. UWP is Microsoft’s solution to make applications run across different types of Windows devices: desktop, mobile, IoT, Xbox, Surface Hubs, and HoloLens. Along with C#, C++ and Visual Basic, UWP applications can be written in HTML/JavaScript and run on Chakra on all these devices. Since ChakraCore is Chakra without some Windows-related APIs, now developers can extend their reach to Linux and Mac OS X. With the Windows Bridge for iOS, many iOS  applications could be ported to Windows, especially phones and tablets, which do not seem to take off because of the lack of a proper application ecosystem.

Microsoft planned to bridge the Android-Windows gap with Project Astoria, but they gave up to this idea. It is still possible to reach UWP via Xamarin but that is not a straightforward way. But considering that most mobile developers have already targeted iOS, they may not need an Android-UWP bridge, being enough to port the Objective-C code to Microsoft’s platform if they are interested.

With the exception of the Intl API, which is a in progress, ChakraCore is on parity with Chakra/Windows regarding the JavaScript features supported, according to Microsoft. JIT and some GC features don’t fully work, but they intend to make them fully functional and with the same performance as on Windows.

Not only desktop applications are targeted, but Microsoft wants to enable cross-platform support for server apps too with a fork of Node.js that runs on ChakraCore. Prebuilt binaries for Windows and Linux are available here

For those interested in technical details on how Node.js runs on ChakraCore, we recommend the article Microsoft Open Sources Chakra and Wants to Run Node.js on It.

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