Pluggable language engines for browsers. Why not?

Firefox has a SpiderMonkey javascript engine. Chrome has V8 javascript engine.

Obviously those engines are a separate products and browsers utilize some kind of interface API to interact with them.

On the other hand programmers longed for a long time for their favorite language in browser. So much so, that we have products like GWT (for java), parenscript (for common lisp), HJScript (for haskell), and i’m sure many other libraries for many other languages that allow programmers stay with their favorite language and generate client side code as well.

The idea is so obvious that i am surprised that there’s no implementation of it yet. Why not publish the interface API of browser to language engine and allow web sites to provide custom language engines as downloadable bundles. With current internet speeds 3-4 megabytes one time download is not a problem for majority of applications, even more so for intranet usage.

So where’s our pluggable engines ?

Answer

You don’t need pluggable engines really, just an agreed upon byte-code format. Google is going down that path now with NaCl and PNaCl which is based on LLVM. So any program that compiled down to a safe subset of LLVM byte-code could be run in the browser.

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