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Cover image for On Deno: Exploring New Tech Isn't a Distraction, It's a Necessity

On Deno: Exploring New Tech Isn't a Distraction, It's a Necessity

Nick Scialli (he/him)
Husband, dog dad, software engineer, coffee monster. Working in civic tech!
・2 min read

Laced within the influx of Deno articles are the Deno detractors. This article offers the counterpoint to those detractors: new tech is not a distraction, it's a necessity.

New Tech is Evolution

In evolution, not every new mutation sticks: some are disadvantageous and, due to natural selection, get culled from the gene pool. A select few traits, however, are advantageous. These traits propagate and become commonplace for that animal. It takes a whole lot of permutations before the right traits are found.

Tech evolution is the same way. Detractors argue that Deno is the "next shiny thing" in tech and cite many reasons why they would never use Deno. I think some of these criticism are correct—I don't understand how Deno imports can be more secure than node without an integrity SHA and I don't like that there's no obvious way to manage indirect dependencies.

Criticism is Good

I'm not knocking articles that are critical of Deno's implementation details. These articles are actually incredibly important to determining if Deno is truly viable! But I will be a little harsher on articles that say the ecosystem is fine as-is and that attempts like Deno shouldn't even be made. Articles that discourage experimentation altogether are unhelpful for advancing tech.

The Only Way We Move Forward is By Trying

Any issues with Deno will either be worked out or Deno will fall by the wayside. The only way we figure it out, however, is by trying. So whether or not you want to be on the "bleeding edge" of new tech attempts, just remember that the only reason you're not coding in Fortran right now is because some developers put in the time to explore, and fail with, all sorts of new tech.

Discussion (10)

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somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz

To be completely honest, from the way I see it, much of the hate around Deno comes from the exaggerated narrative many people attach to it.

#NodeKiller

In the past week, I have observed how the #NodeKiller hyperbole ruffled a few feathers in the community. Although Deno will indeed make a splash, many "detractors" were quick to dismiss Deno because the hype simply did not meet the realities of a v1.0 release.

When such hyperbole is thrown around so frequently, the hype boosts expectations for Deno, but as soon as we come face-to-face with its v1.0 limitations, we end up (very) disappointed. The hype literally exceeded reality.

Such is the curse of hype. Too much of it will inevitably disappoint us. Considering that Deno has only released a single stable release thus far, the criticism around it is well-placed, but outright dismissal and "detraction" is counterproductive.

As you mentioned in your article, experimentation yields better technology in the long run. I agree with your position on this topic. Deno needs the criticism, but certainly not the hype-induced, knee-jerk reactions.

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nas5w profile image
Nick Scialli (he/him) Author

Agreed. Clearly, hyperbole on either side isn’t terribly helpful in assessing the actual utility of any technology. It’s strange to me that logic is foundational to programming yet many programmers take illogical “all or nothing” stances on many topics.

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jsn1nj4 profile image
JSn1nj4‍‍👨‍💻 • Edited

From what I've experienced personally, it's even easier for that attitude to propagate through newbies.

I got really excited when I was out of college and the MEAN stack showed up. I figured it was the future and it definitely did mean being able to use the same language on both client and server.

After a long back-and-forth (a few years with limited spare time), I finally settled on Laravel and Vue (I was already working with PHP, so Laravel was a more natural choice for me in the end).

Gotta say, it would've been a much easier decision if I hadn't gotten so caught up in the hype. Sticking with PHP isn't so bad, but reassessing is far easier when it's not happening at the end of getting burned out chasing the band wagon.

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vacom profile image
Vitor Amaral

Finally someone with the same opinion, that's what I'm trying to say, but apparently there are those who don't like to read that Deno is not going to replace Node. Both can co-exist pushing innovation on both sides. This happened when Node was "private" or going "private" and IO.js came out and after all, they both merged into the same project. I am not saying that the same thing will happen here, but this gives room for new ideas and innovation.

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nas5w profile image
Nick Scialli (he/him) Author

Are there people who genuinely believe Deno will replace node? I see articles with the title “Will Deno Replace Node?” But I always just assume it’s clickbait. Betteridge’s law of headlines applies—any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.”

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somedood profile image
Basti Ortiz • Edited

Dang, I completely forgot that IO.js once existed. I had not been developing in Node during that time, but I imagine that those were some quite divisive times in the JavaScript community.

"Coexisting" is definitely the key word to your comment. I completely agree.

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gregfletcher profile image
Greg Fletcher

Great article!

New tech excites some and scares others. But that's okay. So long as we can have good healthy discussions.

I think that Gage Peterson did a fantastic talk that addresses the different types of developers and how they all respond differently to new tech. His talk was amazingly insightful. You can watch it here. He talked about having empathy for developers who may not have the same opinion and how we can potentially adopt new technology more effectively if we try and see their point of view.

I'm definitely on the new adopter part of the spectrum. So I'm excited to see Deno reach 1.0.0!

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adela1905 profile image
adela1905

Totally agree, the viewpoint.
Try-and-failure is the way.

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conectado profile image
Conectado

This is silly, but what's the cover art source?

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pepperwood profile image
Kathryn DiPippo

I searched the image in tineye.com and found the image and attribution at deno.land/v1:

@hashrock has done a lot of amazing artwork, like the loading page on doc.deno.land and the lovely image at the top of this page!

Links: github.com/hashrock & hashrock.studio.design/