Samsung brings JavaScript to the internet of things

Samsung is offering a stable 1.0 release of the lightweight engine for resource-constrained devices

Samsung has begun offering a stable 1.0 release of JerryScript, its lightweight JavaScript engine for the internet of things (IoT).

Requiring less than 64KB of system RAM, the open source engine is intended for resource-constrained devices like microcontrollers. JerryScript backs on-device compilation and can access peripherals from JavaScript. It uses a C API for embedding in applications, and Ubuntu 14.04 Linux is the only supported development environment.

JerryScript features optimization for low memory consumption and a 160K binary size when compiled for the ARM Thumb-2 processor. It's compliant with the older ECMAScript 5.1 specification for JavaScript, which was approved in 2011, and is supported on platforms including ARMv7 Linux, Intel x86-32 and x86-64, NuttX on STM32F4, and Zephyr on Arduino 101 and FRDM-K64F. There is experimental support for the ESP8266 chip.

Analyst Danny Brian, vice president of research at Gartner, noted that Samsung's efforts follow other ventures in embeddable JavaScript, such as Duktape, which can run on 256KB of flash memory or 64KB of RAM, and D7, with a static footprint of about 80KB. Brian sees JerryScript as part of Samsung's lightweight Node.js ambitions, and in fact, the company has purchased Node pioneer Joyent and has positioned its IoT.js framework, a lightweight version of Node, as key to its IoT strategy.

JerryScript and other similar efforts are intended to make JavaScript capable of running anywhere, Brian said. "The proliferation of JavaScript engines -- there's probably almost of 2,000 of them now -- is just evidence of the rush to capitalize on [JavaScript's] popularity." It will be interesting to see the unexpected use cases for IoT, he said.

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