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Volta

December 6, 2007

At the Silverlight Fire Starter event last week, a few of the attendees were delighted when I told them about ScriptSharp, a C# compiler that outputs JavaScript. This project comes to us from Nikhil Kothari, who is consistantly churning out interesting experiments in .NET.

Another group that has been releasing interesting projects is Live Labs, the group behind projects like Photosynth.  Yesterday they announced a project named Volta, which is similar to ScriptSharp in that it can output JavaScript from your .NET code, but they have taken it a step further by adding tier-splitting.  In their own words from their release announcement:

You architect and build your application as a .NET client application, assigning the portions of the application that run on the server tier and client tier late in the development process. You can target either web browsers or the CLR as clients and Volta handles the complexities of tier-splitting. The compiler creates cross-browser JavaScript for the client tier, web services for the server tier, and all communication, serialization, synchronization, security, and other boilerplate code to tie the tiers together. In effect, Volta offers a best-effort experience in multiple environments without requiring tailoring of the application.

I haven’t had the chance to use it yet, but it looks very promising and just plain cool.  I like it when I read things like this from the JavaScript Interop Recipes page:

Volta makes it trivial to call JavaScript from .NET languages. Simply annotate a class or an extern method with an Import custom attribute that names or defines the JavaScript implementation.

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