by Peter Galli on January 26, 2009 08:48pm

Microsoft has released more source code under an OSI-approved license: this time it has made the source code for the Web Sandbox runtime available under the Apache 2.0  open source license.

The Web Sandbox project explores how to advance the web platform to improve security, isolation, quality of service and extensibility capabilities for web developers and website users.

More information on the licensing details, as well as comprehensive documentation for experimenting and integrating with the Web Sandbox, can be found here

But, while developers are being encouraged to help define and refine the Web Sandbox, it is not recommended for those developers creating production sites as it is still under development.

The Web Sandbox was created in response to limitations found in the current web platform, and is designed to explore potential solutions. Having a more secure and robust architecture as a foundational building block will help drive the next wave of Web innovation.

The Sandbox is a framework that works on most modern browsers that support the"ECMA-262, 3rd Edition" (JavaScript) standard, and provides the same features in all modern web browsers.  No browser add-ons or changes are required to leverage this technology. Beyond security, the Web Sandbox normalizes the different browsers and provides consistent W3C DOM support.

Since the initial release of Web Sandbox at PDC 2008, the team has received a lot of useful feedback from the web security community, and has also been collaborating with a number of customers, partners and the standards communities, all of whom want to adopt the  technology when it is ready. 

The goal? An open and interoperable standard that will help foster interoperability with complementary technologies like script frameworks and drive widespread adoption of the Web Sandbox.

This move is good news for Microsoft and the open source communities. But, it is important to note that while an Apache license is being used, the Web Sandbox project is not an Apache Software Foundation project and is not sponsored or endorsed by the ASF.

Microsoft does, however, already have an active relationship with the ASF. In fact, last year the company announced it had become a sponsor of the ASF so as to help enable the Foundation pay administrators and other support staff so that its developers can focus on writing great software.

Sam Ramji, the senior Director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft, also delivered a keynote address at ApacheCon in New Orleans last November.

Microsoft's Interoperability Technical Strategy Team already participates as a code contributor to the Apache Stonehenge incubator project; the company has also contributed a patch to ADOdb, a popular data access layer for PHP used by many applications and which is licensed under the LGPL and BSD; while Microsoft's Powerset team contributes to HBase, an open-source, column-oriented, distributed database written in Java.