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Facebook has released this new open source JavaScript engine

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Facebook has released a new open source JavaScript engine, Hermes, to speed up the startup of native Android apps built with Facebook's own React Native JavaScript framework.

Facebook's software engineer, Marc Horowitz, unveiled the new JavaScript engine at the 2019 Chain React conference Thursday in Portland, Oregon. Hermes is a new developer tool that focuses on improving application startup performance in the same way that Facebook already does for its applications and making apps more effective on low-end smartphones.

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Open source Hermes is available on GitHub under a MIT license for all developers. He also has his own Twitter account and home page.

In one demo, Horowitz showed that a React Native application with Hermes was fully loaded in half the time that the same application without Hermes loaded, or about two seconds faster.

The benefits of Hermes are visible via key indicators used by Facebook to retain the users of its applications, including the time of interaction (TTI), the size of the application file (APK) that the Android users need to download and the amount of memory used. on an Android device.

Horowitz has touted that Hermes also reduced the size of the APK to half of the 41MB of a React Native stored application and removed a quarter of the memory's use of memory. ;application.

In other words, with Hermes, developers can get users to interact more quickly with an application with fewer obstacles, such as slow download times and constraints caused by multiple applications sharing resources. limited memory, especially on low-end phones.

And these are exactly the phones that Facebook is targeting with Hermes, compared to the fancier flagship products that well-paid developers usually use themselves.

"As developers, we tend to use the latest flagship devices – most users around the world do not have one," he said. "Commonly used Android devices have less memory and less storage than newer phones and much less than a desktop." This is especially true outside of the US Mobile flash memory is also relatively slow, resulting in high I / O latency. "

It's not every day that a new JavaScript engine is born, but there are many engines of this type for browsers, like the Google V8, the Microsoft SpiderMonkey Chakra of Mozilla, Horowitz notes from the server side.

"We are not trying to compete with the browser or the server, Hermes could theoretically be used in this type of use case, which has never been our goal."

In the future, Facebook intends to extend support for Microsoft's VS code.

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