Google Provides Closure: Releases Open Source JavaScript Optimizer

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 06, 2009

JavaScript programmers, rejoice! It's been a good week for open source from big companies. Earlier this week Yahoo! released its Traffic Server it acquired from Inktomi, and now Google has unleashed Closure Tools. These are part of the toolset that Google uses to create JavaScript-heavy applications like Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Maps.

The tools from Google include templates, a JavaScript optmizer, a library of User Interface (UI) widgets and controls, and more. If you're sensing a love of JavaScript here, you're not wrong.

The Closure Compiler is a tool that optimizes JavaScript so it runs faster. It also provides warnings about "common JavaScript pitfalls," so developers can get some insight into writing better code. The compiler comes in several flavors -- a CLI tool, a Web app, and a Firefox extension. Nice to see Google playing well with other browser projcts.

The Closure Templates are for HTML and UI elements, and should be not only easy for developers to use but also to localize. This is pretty important for projects that hope to serve an international audience.

Most interesting is the Closure Library, which Google uses as a "standard JavaScript Library." Perhaps they can be successful in pushing this library as an industry standard. The fact that it's open can't hurt.

All of the Closure bits are licensed under the Apache License 2.0. Having external access to Google's tools -- obviously a set of high-quality tools that are production ready -- is good in and of itself. The fact that they're now open source means that the rest of the community can join in the heavy lifting and improve them, even for Google's competition.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a longtime FOSS advocate, and currently works for Novell as the community manager for openSUSE. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist covering the open source beat for a number of publications, including Linux Magazine, Linux Weekly News,,, IBM developerWorks, and many others.