Babel 7

🕑 Estimated reading time: 2mn

By Sven Sauleau, Compiler developer @ Igalia
Website - Video [Low quality, FR]

Table of Contents


Like most compilers, Babel works by running three passes:

  1. It starts by generating an abstract representation of the code called an Abstract Syntax Tree;
  2. It optimizes this representation, effectively simplifying and removing unused elements;
  3. It rewrites the remainder in a preset JavaScript format, understandable to the targeted browsers.

Babel is present at each of the decision steps of the Technical Committee 39 or TC39 for short. This committee decides the state of the JavaScript standards and features. The babel/proposals GitHub repository contains a Babel implementation of some of these proposals. These proposals can be enabled with the right packages and options or can be tried out directly in the Babel REPL!

What’s new?

Babel 7 comes with massive changes, including, for the most important ones:

As for some of the most recent proposals:

Questions and details

  1. Where can we check the roadmap?
    The roadmap for Babel can be found here.

  2. Can the pure annotations remove a variable if its purpose is to store a flagged dead function?
    Yes, thanks to the optimization pass after the abstract representation of the code!