Update (Sept, 2017): Coffee Script 2.0.0 is now in Beta5 stage – whatever that Beta5 means:) This is what they say about it in short:
One advantage of CoffeeScript is that it is a clear language with lots of code examples.
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What’s good about TypeScript?
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A huge plus about Dart is that it has the goodness of libraries like JQuery right into the language. They got rid of names like getElementByTagName and replaced it with a query that takes J-Query-like parameters to find what you need. They also standardized the internal data structures used to describe the DOM, eliminating the need to remember method calls like has ChildNodes and firstChild.
If Google uses Dart for a number of their applications, I think it is fair to say that it is a robust and scalable platform.
Sebastian McKenzie is – an Australian developer – is the creator of Babel and Babel is licensed under MIT.
Babel can convert JSX syntax and strip out type annotations.
Pluggable: Babel is built out of plugins. There is a set of existing plugins or you can develop your own. They also offer a plugin generator template to make it easier.
On the downside, Babel 6 requires some configuration before you can start using it properly. They are working on release 7.0 since February 2017 so we expect it will be out by the end of this year.
Babel is also a pretty popular alternative, with its 10 million downloads per months from Github in August 2017 it is more popular than TypeScript.
Elm is created mainly by one person called Evan Czaplicki as a PhD thesis work. There is no large community behind it like behind some of the others.
While Babel sometimes gets negative comments for its speed, ELM has great performance. Elm uses a virtual DOM implementation, optimised for simplicity and speed.
If you would like to get into Elm, check out the free ELM tutorial.
Haxe is an open source toolkit based on a modern high level strictly typed programming language, a state-of-the-art light-speed cross-compiler, a complete cross-platform standard library, and ways to access to each platform’s native capabilities.
Haxe allows you to develop for Web, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, OSX, Linux and others, all at once, without the need to switch languages and maintain separate code bases. Support for even more platforms and languages is under development.
Besides the free community support, Haxe also has a paid support plan making it a good alternative for corporates.
It has only 57 contributors on GitHub – which is much less than most of the competitors. So I assume Traceur is less widespread among the developer community. Check out Traceur on GitHub.
Opal produces plain JS so you are free to use it in conjunction with any libraries, plugins or widgets you want. Also there is opal-jquery project – which is an opal wrapper around jquery – so you can use jquery directly from opal as well as use jquery plugins.
Phil Freeman is the man behind of PureScript. He was inspired by Haskell when building it.
PureScript allows developers to identify errors at compile time, instead of at runtime, by using its expressive type system. At a simple level, this means no more undefined is not a function or similar errors, but we can use the type system to validate more interesting things like this function reads from (but does not write to) the filesystem.
The benefit of PureScript is that it is a strict language that debugs at runtime. PureScript is great if you want to use existing JS libraries, in an server client isomorphic application.
When do you want to consider another compiler? PureScript takes some time to learn. Also, the compiled code does not give as good of a performance as some of the other compilers mentioned earlier.
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