About That Office 365 and JavaScript Thing

Posted on June 14, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Microsoft, Office 365 with 29 Comments

About That Office 365 and JavaScript Thing

A Microsoft employee claimed publicly that “all of Office 365” was being “completely rewritten” in JavaScript. And then all hell broke loose.

First things first. It’s not true. So if you were freaking out that Microsoft was somehow abandoning C# and C++ for its most mission-critical offerings, freak out no more. It’s not happening.

So what is happening?

A Microsoft program manager named Sean Larkin perhaps got a little overly-exuberant on Monday, when he tweeted the following. (I’ve edited out some nonsense.)

All of Office 365 is (almost finished) being completely rewritten in this little scripting language called #JavaScript.

And Skype
And Microsoft Teams
And [Visual Studio] Code
And all of [Microsoft Edge] Debug Protocol (instead of C++)


“nbd,” for you fellow old folks, means “no big deal.” Well, sorry, Sean. This is a big deal. And you got most of that tweet completely and utterly wrong.

Without even looking at his follow-ups and clarifications, I can tell you off the top of my head that “all of Office 365” is not being “rewritten” at all, let alone in JavaScript. Most of the new apps that have been added to this service over the past several years are indeed web-based. And most likely use some combination of web technologies, which could include JavaScript. (But also TypeScript, Microsoft’s superior JavaScript-like language.)

Skype is not being rewritten in JavaScript.

Microsoft Teams is not being rewritten in JavaScript. (It’s already web-based, however, and is being evolved into a Progressive Web App.)

Visual Studio Code not being rewritten in JavaScript. It has always been Electron-based.

The Edge thing could be correct, who cares. But Edge itself is a native app and is, of course, not being rewritten in JavaScript.


Anyway, he tried to clarify things in follow-up tweets when his original missive exploded intro controversy. Which shouldn’t have been a surprise. And yet, somehow, it was.

“It’s always the tweet’s you’d least expect to blow up,” he noted, obliviously.

Anyway, he finally corrected himself on Reddit, blaming Twitter’s character limitations for his many factual errors.

“We are not abandoning C++, C#, or any of the other awesome languages, APIs, and toolings that we use across Microsoft,” he clarifies. “Nothing [in Office 365] is converting to ‘all/completely’ JavaScript/TypeScript.”

Stupid Twitter and its character limits. Sigh.

But seriously, facts matter. And getting something this big this wrong is inexcusable.

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