re: 10 Things I Regret About Node.js VIEW POST


The goal of Node was event driven HTTP servers.

1 Regret: Not sticking with Promises.
* I added promises to Node in June 2009 but foolishly removed them in February 2010.
* Promises are the necessary abstraction for async/await.
* It's possible unified usage of promises in Node would have sped the delivery of the eventual standartization and async/await.
* Today Node's many async APIs are aging baldly due to this.

2 Regret: Security
* V8 by itself is a very good security sandbox
* Had I put more thought into how that could be maintained for certain applications, Node could have had some nice security guarantees not available in any other language.
* Example: Your linter shouldn't get complete access to your computer and network.

3 Regret: The Build System (GYP)
* Build systems are very difficult and very important.
* V8 (via Chrome) started using GYP and I switched Node over in tow.
* Later Chrome dropped GYP for GN. Leaving Node the sole GYP user.
* GYP is not an ugly internal interface either - it is exposed to anyone who's trying to bind to V8.
* It's an awful experience for users. It's this non-JSON, Python adaptation of JSON.
* The continued usage of GYP is the probably largest failure of Node core.
* Instead of guiding users to write C++ bindings to V8, I should have provided a core foreign function interface (FFI)
* Many people, early on, suggested moving to an FFI (namely Cantrill) and regrettably I ignored them.
* (And I am extremely displeased that libuv adopted autotools.)

4 Regret: package.json
* Isaac, in NPM, invented package.json (for the most part)
* But I sanctioned it by allowing Nod's require() to inspect package.json files for "main"
* Ultimately I included NPM in the Node distribution, which much made it the defacto standard.
* It's unfortunate that there is centralized (privately controlled even) repository for modules.
* Allowing package.json gave rise to the concept of a "module" as a directory of files.
* This is no a stictly necessary abstraction - and one that doesn't exist on the web.
* package.json now includes all sorts of unnecessary information. License? Repository? Description? It's boilerplate noise.
* If only relative files and URLs were used when importing, the path defines the version. There is no need to list dependencies.

5 Regret: node_modules
* It massively complicates the module resolution algorithm.
* vendored-by-default has good intentios, but in practice just using $NODE_PATH wouldn't have precluded that.
* Deviates greatly from browser semantics
* It's my fault and I'm very sorry.
* Unfortunately it's impossible to undo now.

6 Regret: require("module") without the extension ".js"
* Needlessly less explicit.
* Not how browser javascript works. You cannot omit the ".js" in a script tag src attribute.
* The module loader has to query the file system at multiple locations trying to guess what the user intended.

7 Regret: index.js
* I thought it was cute, because there was index.html
* It needlessly complicated the module loading system.
* It became especially unnecessary after require supported package.json

15:28 Talks about Deno.


Thanks for the notes. works, but the URL you have when you click on it is not that. Just FYI.


From someone who often forgets his headphones you sir are awesome.

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