JavaScript, .Net developers aided in separate projects

JavaScript and .Net developers are getting helping hands in application-building efforts, through separate projects intended to make it easier to use JavaScript and to document .Net projects.

Sun Microsystems, meanwhile, is looking for developer input into the next release of its tool for C, C++, and Fortran development.

In the JavaScript arena, the open source jQuery (http://jquery.com/) project provides developers with a JavaScript library to improve the quality of Web applications. JQuery makes it easier to write JavaScript and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), said John Resig, lead developer of jQuery and also an author.

"The big thing that makes it different form other JavaScript libraries is it doesn't really try to impose itself on you," Resig said. Developers should be able to write shorter code than before while still getting equal if not better functionality, he said.

The technology addresses the issue of browsers each offering different levels of support for JavaScript; jQuery fixes browser issues, said Resig. In addition to working with XML, jQuery also can function with other data formats and frameworks such as HTML or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). Also, jQuery provides benefits in developing animation applications and has a footprint of only 15KB.

"That's one of the big selling points, is that it encompasses so much but it is fantastically small," Resig said.

Version 1.0 of jQuery is now available under either an MIT or GPL open source license. Resig did not have an exact figure on how many people have been using jQuery, which has been available in a pre-release format for several months. But the jQuery home page receives about 3 million page views per month, Resig said.

Microsoft, meanwhile, is offering a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Sandcastle (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e82ea71d-da89-42ee-a715-696e3a4873b2&DisplayLang=en), which enables managed class library developers worldwide to develop documentation with a common look and feel that resembles MSDN (Microsoft Development Network) documents.

An August CTP was made available this week. Sandcastle produces accurate, MSDN-style comprehensive documentation, according to Microsoft.

Part of the Visual Studio software development kit, Sandcastle works with or without authored comments and supports generics and .Net Framework 2.0. Although primarily targeted at ISVs, corporate developers also could use Sandcastle.

Also in the development tools arena, Sun Microsystems on Thursday said it has launched its Sun Studio Express (http://developers.sun.com/prodtech/cc/index.jsp) program, which enables C, C++, and Fortran developers to preview features intended for future releases of Sun Studio. The company said it has had 50,000 downloads of the free Sun Studio 11 tool in six months.

With the Express program, developers receive monthly builds of the next release of Sun Studio, which is due in 2007. "[Developers] can help influence the next version of the product," said Tom Gryder, Sun product line manager for Sun Studio. Thus far, early builds have focused on addressing data race bugs and performance on Linux.

Sun Studio enables development of C, C++, and Fortran applications to run on Solaris or Linux on Sparc, x64, and x86 systems.

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