Even though web development became easier, scaling large web applications that required an extensive amount of interactivity was difficult, as operations were generally imperative and difficult to organize. This led the rise to several frameworks and libraries, notably React. React aimed to allow for declarative development and componentization to compose user interfaces scalably. To achieve this, the team behind React used a Virtual DOM architecture, where computation and logic was deferred to an algorithm to determine changes. This means that the developer just has to figure out how the markup will look.
Performance is slowly becoming a priority, but technologies that depend on the Virtual DOM like React are fundamentally outdated, even with incremental improvements with lazy loading and ISR in Next.js.
The future of the Virtual DOM is not destruction of the Virtual DOM, rather it is to constrain usage of the Virtual DOM where it is powerful while leveraging static analysis and compilation (This is done through Million.js).
I recently had the opportunity to chat with @rauchg about Million.js as well as some of my thoughts on the current state of Virtual DOM. He explained to me that optimization of the Virtual DOM was only a facet of the next phase of web frameworks. This includes how we can improve development mode experience, tree-shaking and bundle size, etc.
aggressive tree shaking - reduce bundle size. I highly recommend you to check out his Twitter and blog, as he has so much valuable insight into the industry and how impact can and needs to be made.