Ecma International, the organization in charge of managing the ECMASCript standard, also known as JavaScript, has published the most recently approved version of the JavaScript language.

ECMAScript 2016, or JavaScript 2016, is the first release in the organization’s new release schedule that it announced in 2015, when it promised to provide yearly updates to the JS standard instead of updates years apart.

The organization also changed the standard’s name last year. On the old naming scheme, this would have been JavaScript Seventh Edition or ES7.

Because there’s now less time to add new features, ECMAScript 2016 features a smaller number of features when compared to the mammoth, ground-breaking, and awaited ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) release.

Support for async functions, which Microsoft has already started to add to Edge, has been deferred to next year’s release.

Instead, JavaScript developers will finally get a “raise to the power” operator, which was mysteriously left out of the standard for twenty years. The operator is **, and you can use it like this:

#Raise y to the power of 8
x=y**8

Coupled with the possibility of searching data inside an array, these are basically all the new ECMAScript 2016 features.

From now on, expect smaller changelogs from the ECMAScript team, since this was the plan last year. Fewer breaking changes mean more time to migrate code, instead of having to rewrite entire applications, as developers did when ES6 came out last year.

In other JavaScript news…

Microsoft has open-sourced the code editor used for the VS Code service, the Web version of Visual Studio. The project, called the Monaco Editor, is available on GitHub.

A few days ago, Microsoft also announced a few performance tweaks regarding the Chakra JavaScript engine used in its new Edge browser.

The npm JavaScript package registry has just surpassed the 300,000 total package mark.

JavaScript climbed two spots in the TIOBE Index of programming languages and is now ranked seventh, after being ranked ninth a year ago.

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