News Roundup: Boomerang, IE9, Bespin Updates

A lot of this week’s news this week is from some of the big shots (Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Mozilla), but it’s still pretty cool stuff so read on for the latest.

ES5 support in IE9

The Internet Explorer team has been hard at work on building as much ECMAScript5 (ES5) support as possible into IE9.
Kangax has updated his ES5 implementation table to reflect the new ES5 features, and has a nice blog post detailing what’s been done and what still needs work. There are certainly still a few head-scratchers in there, as Kangax points out, such as host objects not inheriting from Object.prototype. Still, the IE team’s work is really impressive, and IE9 has at least a partial implementation of everything in ES5 except for strict mode. You can check out their progress by running the most recent platform preview.

Another sign of Microsoft’s commitment to the ES5 standard is the test suite they’ve created to check for ES5 feature support. ECMA currently doesn’t have an official suite to check for ES5 conformance, and Microsoft is leading the charge to put one in place to help ensure interoperability between different Javascript interpreters.

This is great stuff, and it’s extremely encouraging to see the commitment that Microsoft is making to supporting web standards.

Yahoo!’s Boomerang

Boomerang is a new utility for measuring website performance as it is actually experienced by your users. Tools like Page Speed and YSlow can give you an idea of how long it takes for various parts of your sites to load. But by virtue of their being installed in your browser, the data you’ll get will only represent performance on your local network or from whatever off-site locations from which you happen to test, and only in your browser of choice.

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Boomerang remedies this deficiency by using a new approach to collecting performance data. It’s just a small snippet of Javascript that you include in your pages. It collects some data about page load times (among other things) and sends it back to your server. That way, you get data from as many different locations and OS/browser combinations as your site has visitors.

Bespin 0.9a1

Mozilla has just updated their Bespin in-browser IDE with some impressive new features. One big new feature is code completion based on Ctags (a format that should be familiar to Vim and Emacs users). At the moment, it looks like Javascript is the only language for which code completion is supported.

The other big feature for this release is pretty impressive from an implementation perspective. Now users of Embedded Bespin can have multiple Bespin editors on a single page. As the engineers point out in their blog post announcing the release, Bespin’s plugin system made it particularly challenging to sandbox completely separate instances of the editor on one page. Incidentally, this problem is very similar to the one that motivated a lot of the core design decisions that went into building YUI3. I haven’t dug into the Bespin source, but it would be a good exercise to compare and contrast their solution to YUI’s.

SproutCore lead leaves Apple

Charles Jolley, the lead developer of SproutCore, has announced that he’s leaving his job at Apple to start his own company. This is particularly interesting, since in his blog post about the transition, he implies that SproutCore was being hindered by its being developed under Apple’s roof. As this won’t be the case any longer, Jolley promises lots of new stuff coming to the framework.

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