In the bustle of announcements surrounding OSCON, Blackhat, and the Ajax Experience one single, incredibly important, announcement was made: The introduction of two new Mozilla projects: IronMonkey and ScreamingMonkey.
Briefly, since they’re both still under planning, here’s what IronMonkey and ScreamingMonkey are setting out to achieve.
IronMonkey is setting out with the goal of mapping Microsoft’s Common Intermediate Language (CIL) to ActionScript Byte Code (ABC), allowing additional language implementations, such as IronPython and IronRuby, to run in the Tamarin Virtual Machine.
To break all of this down: There are implementations of Python and Ruby that are capable of being compiled down to a Common Intermediate Language, which will then be able to be run on Tamarin via IronMonkey.
ScreamingMonkey is the effort, being led by Mark Hammond, to allow the Tamarin engine to run within non-Mozilla browsers, starting with Internet Explorer.
Unfortunately, the Internet Explorer team is caught up fixing bugs in their existing ECMAScript implementation (JScript), thus their likelihood of implementing ECMAScript 4, in a reasonable time frame, is slim to none.
There’s a detailed plan of attack laid out and it will require a lot of work. The end result still needs to be actualized, but it will most likely be in the form of a standalone Tamarin runtime (possibly embedded in another distribution) that will be able to hook into its relevant browsers.
Regardless of the outcome of either one of these projects, it’s obvious that browser scripting is beginning to shift in some appreciable ways. Although, should these projects succeed the resulting effect upon the web development industry will be incalculable.