Microsoft this week unveiled a superset of JavaScript called TypeScript that is open, standards-based, and 100 percent compatible with JavaScript. According to Microsoft, TypeScript was designed to overcome limits in JavaScript that date back to its origins as a client-side web scripting language.

“Today, we’re introducing a new programming language that solves a very specific problem – getting JavaScript development to scale,” Microsoft corporate vice president Soma Somasegar writes in a post to his blog. “That language is TypeScript. You can learn more about the TypeScript project, download an early preview, read and discuss the language specification, explore the online playground, and peruse the source of the compiler (on the TypeScript project site on CodePlex, with git).

While I admit to being a bit unclear on why TypeScript was necessary, Somasegar points out some advantages: type checking and static analysis, explicit interfaces, and integrated best practices. Via a plug-in for Visual Studio, you can take full advantage of this new language using the tools you already know.

If you’re curious about TypeScript, however, you’ll want to watch this video starting C# creator Anders Hejlsberg: