TypeScript, the new CoffeeScript?

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Today Microsoft’s Anders Hejlsberg introduced TypeScript, which basically is a language that compiles into JavaScript, very similar to CoffeeScript. There are some differences, though: whereas CoffeeScript tries to make writing JavaScript very brief and removes lots of {}-stuff from the language, TypeScript tries to create an efficient type system on top of JavaScript.

I have tried to approach CoffeeScript a couple of times, but every time using it for real has had lots of doubts:

  • New syntax to learn, both myself and other team members
  • New tooling needed
  • Debugging story not that good (although getting better)
  • Will it fly? Do I need to roll back to JS in a year or two?

Overall I have not felt that the benefits would outnumber the drawbacks.

My first feelings with TypeScript are very similar to above; I still have great doubts about the future of this language, but some aspects are better: overall the syntax is very JavaScript-like, and as I have a C# background I could easily dive into TypeScript. Even more importantly: the tooling seems to be great from day #1 and I’m sure it will get even better. Other smart moves from Microsoft are: TypeScript is open sourced, it has Node.js support right out of the box, and it has the best sponsor there is for a new language, Anders Hejlsberg.

I do not see myself writing any apps in TypeScript, at least not in a while, but I will follow the project very closely and play with it every now and then. You never know, it might even fly – especially if the community gets over the fact that TypeScript is Microsoft-initiated.

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