JavaScript’s Dominance Isn’t Assured – The New Stack

Much like how a stopwatch is just twice a day, it seems that in the tech world, if you stick around long enough, the methods you knew long ago become the way of doing things again. This week, a post by Klint Finley on GitHub’s ReadME project tells the story of old becoming new again, with an exploration of all the backend languages ​​that are coming to the frontend.

Since the early days of networked computing, Finley writes, the technology has been a seesaw, back and forth between server-side and client-side processing, with the last decade dominated by client-side JavaScript. “But a new generation of tools is throwing the pendulum back to the server,” he writes.

Now, for those of you who remember building web pages with those old backend languages ​​(PHP forums in the beginning, anyone?), you might consider going back to it once more as a heresy. And on this point, Finley is certainly on your side, since he recounts the “(not so) good old days of web development“, as he puts it. This is no argument for reverting to ways in which backend languages ​​have to recreate entire web pages on every update, as was the case with PHP applications of yore. Instead, this new crop consists of tools like Phoenix, a framework for the Elixir programming language, and a feature called LiveView, which renders UI elements on the backend before sending them to the browser. Finley also mentions other tools that take a similar approach, such as Laravel Livewire and StimulusReflex.

Although the title of the article might suggest that JavaScript should take a break, Finley ends on a more balanced note, writing that “Perhaps what we see is not so much a pendulum swing, but a state equilibrium where computing happens on both the client and the server to the same extent depending on the needs of the user. »

This point is one we’ve seen more and more recently in the world of frontend development (or backend as a frontend, so to speak). For example, when we recently reviewed htmx as an alternative to single-page JavaScript applications (SPAs), htmx creator Carson Gross and Svelte framework creator Rich Harris concluded on a similar note to the idea of ​​”applications of transition”, in which not one approach would be fully invoked.

Much of the discussion in the article, which has reached the top of Hacker News, is not necessarily in disagreement with the assertions made, but rather with what has not been mentioned.

WebAssembly and htmx were among the top two approaches seen as missing from the landscape, both seemingly offering alternatives to the recent dominance of JavaScript and its ubiquitous front-end frameworks. But while we call those two main arguments listed, the comments on Hacker News are a long list of different languages ​​and approaches that might suffice. Either way, it seems JavaScript’s potential world domination is anything but certain.

This week in programming

  • Test Drive Tech with IBM’s Dev Sandbox: IBM previewed a Developer Technology Sandbox to help developers explore new technologies, a process the company describes as normally “a bit like being asked to assemble a car before giving it a test drive. “. With the IBM Developer Technology Sandbox, on the other hand, developers get “a turnkey solution” in the form of a “browser-based, no-code/low-code sandbox” that currently offers nine different technologies, such as video information using Watson or anomaly detection from IBM Research. Not only can you try out the prebuilt apps, but you can also modify them and export the code directly to your own GitHub repository.
  • Flutter gets stable Windows support: When Flutter 2 launched last year, it was a significant expansion of the platforms it could be used to target. At the time, Google wrote that it would allow developers “to use the same codebase to ship native apps to five operating systems: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux; as well as web experiences targeting browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge. The statement, however, was a bit ambitious, as full production support for desktops was yet to be released. In the case of Windows, this is no longer the case since Google announced Flutter for Windows. “Today marks a significant expansion of that vision with the first production release of support for Windows as an application target, allowing Windows developers to benefit from the same productivity and power as developers mobile,” they write. With this release, Flutter apps will be able to “use every part of the Flutter framework, and on Windows it can also talk to Win32, COM, and Windows Runtime APIs either directly through Dart’s C interop layer or using ‘a platform plugin written in C++. All of this lands in Flutter 2.10, alongside various other features, performance improvements and bug fixes, and they say stable support for macOS and Linux is on the way.

  • Google’s Summer of Code is open to organizations: This year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is moving forward and is now open for applications from mentor organizations, meaning open source projects and organizations can now apply to participate until February 21 at 10:00 a.m. PT . The program, which pairs new open source contributors with open source projects, actually expanded its eligibility last year by removing the requirement that participants be students, and instead is not open to all new open source contributors over the age of 18. the program for the year will be the 18th edition, with projects of 175 to 350 hours over 12 to 22 weeks. If you’re part of an open source project that wants to help new developers get started with open source, GSoC is definitely one way to do it, and now’s the time to apply. As for you developers who want to get in on the action, that application period opens soon. Consult the detailed schedule of all deadlines.

  • Now is the time to stop using older versions of Visual Studio: For those of you still using older versions of Visual Studio, the time to upgrade is coming soon, as detailed in a blog post describing the end of support for various versions. It’s all part of a push to stop supporting older software, but also push developers towards Microsoft’s latest IDE, Visual Studio 2022, which arrived late last year. Be sure to check the post for all dates, but be aware that the updates apply not only to much older versions, such as Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2017, but also to newer versions such as Visual Studio 2019 version 16.7. Microsoft offers this brief summary: “It’s time to complete your migration from Visual Studio 2012 to a later supported version. It’s time to move from the Visual Studio 2019 Preview channel to Visual Studio 2022 Preview. It’s time to upgrade from Visual Studio 2019 version 16.7 to Visual Studio 2019 version 16.11 or Visual Studio 2022.”
  • More thoughts on the future of Rust: Last update this week, Rust core developer Niko Matsakis shared his thoughts on the direction he would like to see taken next. “For me, the theme that comes to mind is daring to ask for more. Rust has become a bit nicer to use over the past few years, but I’m not satisfied. I believe there’s room for Rust to be 22x more productive and easy to use than it is today, and I believe we can do this without significantly sacrificing reliability, performance, or versatility,” writes In the blog post, he talks about how he’d like to see more about making Rust easier to learn, more about making Rust asynchronous (Matsakis is on the asynchronous working group), and more in terms of Rust tooling. general theme, if you haven’t understood, is that he wants Rust to be more.” Sometimes it can be very tempting to say, ‘Rust is good enough, you don’t want one language for everything anyway ‘ and leave it at that,” he wrote. “For Rust 2024, I don’t want us to do that. I think Rust is brilliant. But I think Rust could be more awesome. Read on for all of his insights into just how much more awesome Rust could be.

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