Cloudflare leads efforts to make JavaScript environments interoperable – TechCrunch

Cloudflare today announced that it is working with Deno, the development company behind the eponymous Deno runtime, and individual contributors to the open source Node.js project to create standards for developers to write code between Deno, Node.js and Cloudflare’s serverless application platform, Cloudflare workers. Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince said the effort will enable the transfer of applications between Workers, Deno, and Node.js without the need for a rewrite, a feat that is currently out of reach.

“JavaScript is used by millions of developers, and it’s usually the first language they learn. Until now, JavaScript standards have been all about the interface, like the browser,” Prince told TechCrunch in an email interview. “By standardizing core JavaScript APIs with both frontend and backend in mind, we can allow frontend developers to have more access to the backend than ever before in a way that feels familiar to them.”

Built on Google’s open-source JavaScript V8 engine, Node.js is credited with unifying web application development around a single programming language, JavaScript, allowing developers to run server-side scripts to produce content. dynamic web page before the page is sent to a user’s web browser. But despite over a decade of development, Node.js lacks interoperability. Developers had to rely on tacit knowledge and create tools to share code across JavaScript environments.

“The future of JavaScript is universal, the ability to move JavaScript between many environments. That future must be intentionally engineered,” said Myles Borins, technical steering committee member for Node.js, the technical governing body of Node. js, in a statement, “The promise of ‘write once, run anywhere’ will only be possible with collaborative initiatives such as the web-based Interoperable Runtimes Community Group.”

Cloudflare, Deno, and select Node.js contributors from the Node.js Technical Steering Committee will develop API-based interoperability standards as part of the Web-interoperable Runtimes Community Group, a group of the World Wide Web Consortium. Together, they will aim to make JavaScript community tools and integrations easier to use in runtimes, remove platform-specific nuances, and allow applications to evolve and change over time. without rewriting.

“The success of Deno’s extended ecosystem can be attributed in large part to our strict adherence to web platform standards,” Deno software engineer Luca Casonato said in a statement. “We knew from the start that Deno could only succeed if it put its all into browser interoperability – developers and general trends in the ecosystem showed us that this bet was right. In addition to our work on existing standards with… the W3C, we’re excited to work with folks at Cloudflare and Node.js on even better runtime interoperability.

Prince added: “[W]When JavaScript APIs look, feel, and behave the same in the most popular JavaScript environments (Node, Deno, and Workers), developers win. Our goal is to free developers from being locked into an environment. Moving to a new environment shouldn’t mean rewriting your entire application. »

This, of course, would benefit Cloudflare, which launched the Workers platform in beta in 2018. A revenue generator for Cloudflare – Workers charges fees for batches of server-side tasks – over 450,000 developers have built on the platform and more than three million apps have been launched, according to Prince. Cloudflare is no doubt hoping to boost those numbers by convincing development teams to migrate from other JavaScript environments, especially in light of the company’s bleak earnings forecasts.

It’s no coincidence that Cloudflare today also announced the open source of the Workers runtime under the Apache V2 license. The company presents the move as its response to blocking suppliers, but it also raises the profile of workers – more or less serving as free publicity.

“It is not enough to write standards. [By] Open source the Cloudflare Workers runtime, we are making these APIs widely available and giving developers an easy way to adopt the new standards,” said Prince. “There are two things that developers hesitate about when adopting a new development platform. The first: they fear being locked up. No matter how optimistic you are about technology, if you’re betting a company’s future on a development platform, you don’t want to risk being ransomed. And second: as a developer, you want a local development environment to quickly iterate and test your changes. The Workers runtime open source solves both of these problems by giving developers a standard that can run anywhere, which means both in any hosting environment and on their local machine for testing. and fast iterations.

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