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Open Source Meteor Platform Supports ES2015, Angular and React JavaScript

The ambitious Meteor JavaScript framework -- targeting cross-platform Web and native mobile app development -- has settled on standardized ECMAScript 2015 as its default JavaScript base, with support for Angular and React added on.

"Beginning today, ECMAScript 2015 is now the official JavaScript of the Meteor platform," a Meteor blog post proclaimed today. "Every new Meteor project now uses ES2015 by default, in every JS file."

ECMAScript, or ES2015, can be thought of as the "official" JavaScript implementation, trademarked and standardized by Ecma International. From it other implementations are derived, such as JScript, ActionScript and, indeed, as Wikipedia states, the "scripting language developed by Brendan Eich of Netscape" -- commonly just called JavaScript.

Although ES2015 is now the default JavaScript implementation, today's Meteor 1.2 update also supports Angular and React view engines in addition to its own Blaze UI library.

Angular, as its site describes, "is a structural framework for dynamic Web apps. It lets you use HTML as your template language and lets you extend HTML's syntax to express your application's components clearly and succinctly."

React, meanwhile, is a popular new-age JavaScript-based implementation developed and open sourced by Facebook that has lately become known for being targeted at native iOS and Android app development in addition to Web development. It eschews the "write once, run anywhere" approach for a new "learn once, write anywhere" paradigm.

Meteor, however, last year took the more conventional approach to cross-platform native development, wrapping JavaScript code in Cordova containers that communicate with native OSes for specific device functionality and app store compatibility, something not possible with cross-platform apps built only with traditional Web technologies HTML5, JavaScript and CSS.

But, as its site states, Meteor has ambitions far beyond that, "to build a new platform for cloud applications that will become as ubiquitous as previous platforms such as Unix, HTTP and the relational database."

To that end, today's announcement of version 1.2 includes several other updates.

"We put quite a bit of work into mobile application development in Meteor 1.2 as well," Meteor's Matt DeBergalis wrote in today's blog post. "Cordova is now at 5.2.0. A new crosswalk package adds support for the Crosswalk plugin, which offers a much improved Web engine on older Android devices. You can now install plugins from local filesystem and from Git URLs. And lastly, Meteor now uses a system installation of the Android SDK for Android builds instead of embedding build tools in the Meteor distribution itself, making it easier to keep the mobile toolchain up to date."

A new build pipeline is claimed to allow for faster rebuilds, and other enhancements across the stack include performance improvements such as more efficient live queries and WebSocket compression. Full details are in the release notes. Source code and other open source project material is available on the main GitHub site.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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