This time last year, Erik Meijer sent me a paper about a new programming language project he was working on. I was high on the social graph at that time and didn't get around to responding to Erik's paper until this fall. The premise seemed fundamentally interesting; create an MSIL to Javascript compiler which is conceptually similar to Google's GWT and Nikhil Kothari's Script# then flip the traditional Web development script by allowing developers to choose whether code runs on the server or on the client by simply decorating methods with attributes. The last bit is the interesting innovation in Erik's project although it is obscured by the C#/VB/MSIL to Javascript compiler aspects.

As an example, let's say you have a function like ValidateAddress(). Whether this logic lives on the client (i.e. Javascript in the browser) or runs on the server is really a function of how complicated that function actually ends up being. Now imagine if when the time comes to refactor the function and move the validation logic from the Web client to the server or vice versa, instead of rewriting Javascript code in C#/IronPython/VB.NET/IronRuby/etc or vice versa you just add or remove a [RunAtOrigin] attribute on the function.

This project shipped last week as Microsoft Volta. You can learn a little more about it in Erik Meijer's post on Lambda the Ultimate entitled Democratizing the Cloud using Microsoft Live Labs Volta. Try it out, it's an interesting project that has legs. 

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