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Let's Push Things Forward

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A large reason to prefer JavaScript over Vala is the huge installed base of people both already committed to using JavaScript (ie, it's the preferred language for Windows 8 development, Firefox OS, some mobile platforms) and particularly the wealth of people working to make JavaScript fast and stable.

Unfortunately, the only people developing Vala are a portion of our (already small) developer community. The tools are limited (mostly just the compiler and g-i-r integration) and there isn't a huge community working to add a streamlined debugger, making the documentation streamlined (valadoc still hasn't been officially released, yet my project written in Vala, libfolks, relies upon it).

I think Vala is a great language, but I still agree that JavaScript, on the balance, is a better choice long term.

If the idea is to go with an "already popular" formalism then I think it's a cowardly decision which misses the point. People will use whatever tools we give them to leverage the GNOME platform, our goal should be to give them tools that work specifically well with our platform.

Absolutely - people will use the tools they prefer, and that's great. If you already have tools you prefer, please keep using them. We won't be reducing support for those tools in Gnome. We're simply going to improve and streamline the JavaScript portion of our stack and infrastructure.

Re: SRSLY?

(Anonymous)
And this is not just an argumentum ad populum?

I wonder if Apple sat around thinking, "hey, we're the _only_ ones who use Objective C, maybe we should use the most popular language instead." when they unleashed iOS upon the world.

Clearly Java/Dalvik is the preferred Android language, and Objective C is the preferred iOS language. That covers just about 100% of the smartphone market. FirefoxOS is still vaporware, so what other mobile platforms are there pushing JavaScript?

Also, I just went over the the Microsoft site, and not only is JavaScript not presented as any sort of "preferred language" they actually appear to be treating _all_ of C++, C#, and JavaScript as first class citizens of the Windows 8 development story. They also give the impression that they will not be _favoring_ any particular language, but allowing the developer to choose the best language for their project.

Re: SRSLY?

(Anonymous)
> huge installed base of people both already committed to using JavaScript

Those are mainly web developers who believe in the superiority of web over desktop.

> it's the preferred language for Windows 8 development

It may be preferred but most Win devs are invested in c# and won't switch to JS just because.

> Firefox OS

Sorry for being polemic but: All 2 Firefox OS users/devs will be excited.

> some mobile platforms

You mentioned Windows 8 already. (Or do you mean WebOS?)

> and particularly the wealth of people working to make JavaScript fast and stable.

From what I understand they don't work on your GJS interpreter so it's the same as "We're building a car now because all the wealthy car manufacturers are pouring money into their RnD".

Re: SRSLY?

(Anonymous)
A large reason to prefer JavaScript over Vala is the huge installed base of people both already committed to using JavaScript (ie, it's the preferred language for Windows 8 development, Firefox OS, some mobile platforms) and particularly the wealth of people working to make JavaScript fast and stable.

I seriously doubt firefox OS has a huge install base. Neither is there a huge Windows 8-Javascript community at this point. There are tons of web-app developers using the language, so I can buy that argument, even though the examples given seem poor to me.

How many of that wealth of people working on making Javascript fast and stable are hacking on GJS specifically? Having people working on other engines will not help Gnome after all.

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