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Qt Is Exploring A Google V8 JavaScript Engine

Google

Published on 24 February 2011 04:37 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Google
5 Comments

While the Nokia-Microsoft Windows Phone 7 deal may have dampened the outlook for Qt by Nokia corporate, their engineers continue working constantly on improving this free software tool-kit. One of the latest interesting projects is exploring whether Qt's JavaScript platform could be powered by Google's V8 Engine.

As announced at labs.qt.nokia.com, their engineers are exploring a Google V8-based JavaScript Engine. "We’re actively researching Google’s V8 JavaScript engine for use in Qt. For legal reasons, we had to take our work underground where it doesn’t belong. But now we’re back."

This V8 engine isn't living in the mainline Qt tree but in a separate Git repository for now. "The status of the V8-based back-end is that we still have some QtScript API that’s not implemented, and there are autotests failing (QTBUG-17640), but several of the QtScript and QML examples and demos run. Aside from behavorial compatibility with current Qt, we also need to ensure that there aren’t any performance gaps in the C++/JS layer before a V8-powered Qt can become a viable solution. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re simultaneously looking to trim the fat of our current APIs to make a switch feasible."

The Nokia post was by Kent Hansen and in a follow-up comment, he clarifies that this is currently a research project. "It's not a decision, it’s a research project. V8 is an interesting technology to work with. The background is that someone ported QtWebKit to use V8 and got some encouraging benchmark results, so we wanted to explore this option further. We’re not out to fragment anyone’s ecosystem here."

V8 was developed by Google for their Chrome web-browser and is fully open-source. This JavaScript engine works by compiling the JavaScript to native code -- rather than any bytecode like many other engines -- and utilizes various other optimizations along the way.

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