Microsoft releases HoloJS, allowing JavaScript developers to make HoloLens apps

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Most people are probably familiar with Microsoft’s HoloLens as strictly a piece of futuristic augmented reality hardware. They may not be aware that a key component of Microsoft’s augmented reality is an underlying application development platform called Windows Holographic.

Windows Holographic is an application programming interface (API) that is a part of the Windows 10 API and enables augmented applications to be built for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Now, Microsoft released another tool in the augmented reality developer’s kit with HoloJS, a way to create UWP apps supporting HoloLens using JavaScript and WebGL, MSPoweruser reports.

Microsoft released HoloJS on GitHub with little fanfare and it was discovered by WalkingCat, a Twitter account that’s a source of numerous Microsoft discoveries. WalkingCat pointed to the open-source project recently placed on GitHub that uses Microsoft’s Chakra JavaScript engine created for the company’s Edge web browser.

According to Microsoft GitHub description, “HoloJS is a C++ library that hosts Chakra to run JavaScript code, and also hosts ANGLE to handle OpenGL ES graphics calls. OpenGL ES calls are translated from WebGL calls by the JavaScript app. When running on a Microsoft HoloLens, HoloJS supports holographic rendering.” What this means in simpler terms is that developers versed in JavaScript and WebGL can put their expertise to use in building holographic UWP apps for HoloLens.

Microsoft provides documentation for HoloJS that should help developers get started, as long as they’re using Visual Studio 16 with Update 3 and have access to the HoloLens emulator. What this means for the rest of us is there is now another way for developers to make HoloLens apps and we will have to keep hoping Microsoft will release their augmented reality hardware at affordable prices sometime in the near future.