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11/5/2009
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Google Releases Internal JavaScript Tools

Developers can now optimize their JavaScript code with tools used by Google's engineers.

In keeping with its efforts to promote the Web as as a development platform, Google on Thursday plans to release a set of internal JavaScript programming tools as open source software.

Google's Closure Tools were used to create Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Maps, among other applications.

The Closure apps include Closure Compiler, a JavaScript optimizer designed to produce tight, efficient JavaScript, code that, Google claims, has fewer bugs and is easier to maintain. It removes unnecessary code and compacts the rest to maximize speed.

There's also a Firefox extension that works with Firebug called Closure Inspector. It aims to simplify debugging by making optimized code more readable. Firebug is a Firefox extension that facilitates HTML, CSS, and JavaScript debugging in the browser.

The Closure Compiler can be run as a command-line tool, a Web application or a Firefox extension.

The Closure Library is Google's version of a standard class library for JavaScript, the equivalent of STL in C++ or JDK in Java. It's intended for use with the Closure Compiler to allow programmers to focus on writing code rather than utilities or browser abstractions.

Finally, the Closure Templates offer a set of precompiled JavaScript interface components. They're implemented in JavaScript and in Java for client-side and server-side use.

In June, Google open sourced another Firefox extension that complements Firebug called Page Speed, a tool for analyzing JavaScript performance.

Google has focused on speed across its Web applications and has made speed a major goal for its Chrome browser. Speed, for Google, is a competitive advantage.

Google claims that in several benchmark tests, the V8 engine used in Chrome "is many times faster than JScript (in Internet Explorer), SpiderMonkey (in Firefox), and JavaScriptCore (in Safari)."

In a browser comparison conducted on a Mac Pro (dual 2.8 Ghz Quad-core Intel Xeon), between the developer version of Chrome (4.0.229.1), Firefox 3.5.4, and Safari 4.0.3 (6531.9), the v5 benchmark scores -- higher is better -- were Chrome (4465), Safari (2761), and Firefox (365).

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on new software models. Download the report here (registration required).

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