Linux Foundation Launches JS Foundation

The Linux Foundation today announced the launch of the JS Foundation, a new project focused on fostering JavaScript developer engagement, collaboration and best practices under an open governance model.

Both the JQuery Foundation and the Dojo Foundation, which announced plans to join forces in September, are coming together as part of the new JS Foundation. Kris Borchers, executive director of the JQuery Foundation, will serve as executive director of the new JS Foundation project.

"The JS Foundation aims to support a vast array of technologies that complement projects throughout the entire JavaScript ecosystem," Borchers said in a statement. "JavaScript is a pervasive technology, blurring the boundaries between server, client, cloud and IoT. We welcome any projects, organizations or developers looking to help bolster the JavaScript community and inspire the next wave of growth for application development."

The list of JS Foundation founding members includes: Bocoup, IBM, Ripple, Samsung, Sauce Labs, Sense Tecnic Systems, SitePen, StackPath, University of Westminster and WebsiteSetup.

The new organization also announced a Mentorship Program "to help encourage a culture of collaboration and sustainability throughout the JavaScript community." The list of initial participants includes Appium, Interledger.js, JerryScript, Mocha, Moment.js, webpack and Node-RED.

The core goal of the JS Foundation, said Angel Diaz, IBM vice president of Cloud Technology and Architecture, is to create "a center of gravity" around JavaScript-based projects, and to "drive broad adoption and ongoing development of key JavaScript solutions and related technologies."

"When you look at stats around the JavaScript runtimes, such as Node.js, you see that the packages are being downloaded millions of times a month," Diaz told ADTmag, "which is kind of unbelievable. The Mocha project, which is JavaScript test framework running on Node.js, gets a thousand downloads a day! Coming together like this gives us an opportunity to provide clear open governance for all this activity. People will know how to contribute code, so we all know that the things are accessible and sustainable. People will know that they can rely on a package, know that it's supported, that there's a development team around it as things evolve from version to version."

IBM launched the Node.js Foundation as a Linux Foundation project about a year ago. The company is contributing its Node-RED project to the new JS Foundation. Node-RED is a homegrown IBM tool for wiring together hardware devices, APIs and online services. Since the project was launched in 2013, it has become a popular technology in the Internet of Things (IoT) developer community.

The Linux Foundation is an umbrella organization for a range of open source projects. It has become something of a go-to org for open source communities looking for structure and guidance for large-scale collaboration. The list of Linux Foundation projects includes Cloud Foundry, the Kinetic Open Storage Project, OpenSwitch, the Xen Project and Node.js.

"Organizing under the Linux Foundation umbrella reduces costs by leveraging its existing infrastructure," Diaz said. "But more importantly, it increases synergy across synergy across open source projects. Say Mocha is doing something that JQuery needs, it's a very easy discussion among developers within a well-understood framework. It often has the effect of accelerating all of the different projects that have moved in together."

The JS Foundation's open, technical governance model will comprise a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and a Governing Board. The TAC will provide technical advice to the projects and inform the Governing Board about "technical opportunities" it sees in the JavaScript ecosystem. A Board of Directors will guide business decisions and marketing, "ensuring alignment between the technical communities and members."

The JS Foundation will also build on its work with standards bodies, organizers said, such as W3C, WHATWG and ECMA TC39, "to nurture the open standards that browser vendors and developers rely upon," the foundation organizers said in a statement.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].