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Deno - Node.js successor (?)
Tomek

Tomek Poniatowicz

5/20/2020

Deno - Node.js successor (?)

A while ago the dev world heard the news that Ryan Dahl, who previously created Node.js, has released a new JavaScript & TypeScript scripting environment.

Deno is based on V8 and written in Rust & TypeScript and it aims to provide a productive and secure scripting environment that a modern programmer needs.

What's wrong with Node?

At times Node is like nails on a chalkboard to me. - Ryan Dahl

In 2018 during a JSConf Ryan Dahl gave a keynote speech called "Design Mistakes in Node" where he highlighted some of the most disturbing him Node's flaws or, as he called them, his regrets like:

  • the build system (sticking to GYP)
  • removing promises
  • node modules
  • security flaws i.e. linter having full access to your device & network

and some more. During that talk, he has also shown the world Deno's prototype.

Node modules flaws

Why Deno?

Deno is an anagram for Node and it aims to do the same job as a Node in a better way. Deno comes with some pretty interesting built-in features & concepts:

  • Secure by default - utilize the fact that JavaScript is a secure sandbox. Deno has no file, network, or environment access unless explicitly enabled.
  • TypeScript Support - TypeScript is great & Deno supports TypeScript out of the box.
  • Simplified modules system - with no attempt to achieve compatibility with Node modules, Deno offers totally different & simplified approach where standard modules are hosted at [deno.land/std](deno.land/std) and are distributed via URLs (you can still use third party modules from any location on the web)
  • Single executable - Deno ships only a single executable with minimal linkage

Will Deno replace Node.js?

Deno is a new kid on the block. It offers some major improvements to some of the Node weaknesses. Although it rapidly gained a lot of attention (almost 60K stars on GitHub), it's just a 1.0 version and it's defiantly not production-ready yet. Despite its many flaws, Node.js is the widest use & mature JavaScript runtime. There are thousands of hudge, corporate projects running it and they will keep doing so. Deno is worth keeping your eyes on & if you are interested in its concept and learning more about Deno you should definitely watch Rayan's keynote:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3BM9TB-8yA

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