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Latest JavaScript News and Updates of 2020

plazarev profile image Pavel Lazarev ・7 min read

There is not much time left in this rough year of 2020 and I want to finish it on a positive note. That is why I’ve decided to collect the latest interesting pieces of news from the JavaScript world and share them with you.

In this news digest, you will learn about a new significant feature for React framework, big improvements in the API of Google Apps Script, changes in licensing of Mapbox library, a new approach for building modern web apps without utilizing much JavaScript, and become familiar with the major update of DHTMLX Suite - a highly customizable JavaScript UI library that I really like as well as other DHTMLX products.

As a bonus, I've also found some useful tutorials and valuable tips that will help to enrich your JavaScript knowledge.

Let's get to it!

New Tools and Updates

DHTMLX Suite 7.0 is Here

DHTMLX Suite 7.0

DHTMLX JavaScript widget library has been recently updated to version 7.0. The development team has put in great efforts to make web interfaces created with Suite UI components more user-friendly and performant on various types of devices. For instance, this comprehensive release includes a new pagination widget that will make it much faster to navigate through large data sets. Now it is not an issue to implement DHTMLX UI widgets on the server-side and the Node.js demo explains how to do it with ease. The new version also ensures smooth support for touch devices.

Such popular widgets as Layout, Form, and Tabbar have been fully reworked to unlock new capabilities for web developers and guarantee a better user experience. And finally, it has become easier to change the look and feel of Suite UI widgets using newly made CSS templates. If you want to learn about these features and other great additions included in this update, check out the release article.

Popular JavaScript Mapping Library is No Longer Free

Mapbox GL JS

Mapbox GL JS is one of the most demanded JavaScript libraries used for building interactive vector maps in the web environment. Promoted as an open-source data visualization tool with a rich feature-set, Mapbox has gained popularity among web developers and has found application in numerous web projects of various sizes, but the latest major release (v2) of this library may change the situation. The thing is that starting from version 2 the library will be distributed under a new commercial license.

Thus, new features and updates will be delivered only for paid versions (2.0+). But the good news is that developers still can use v1 of the library and it is still free. Moreover, the open source community has already launched a free fork of Mapbox GL JS named MapLibre GL to maintain the 1.x version. It can be very helpful for web developers and companies that already use Mapbox GL JS in their projects.

New Approach to Building Web Apps with Minimum JavaScript

Hotwire

Over the past decade, JavaScript with its comprehensive ecosystem has been the main resource for building feature-packed web apps. But on the flip side, it is frequently associated with complex architectures and intricate developing processes that can be a stumbling block for small teams. The company Basecamp wants to solve this problem by providing a new way of creating modern web apps with minimum JavaScript usage. The project is named Hotwire. It is expected to make the development process much simpler and more productive thanks in large part to a special technique that lies in sending HTML instead of JSON over the wire.

The key part of Hotwire is Turbo. It is a framework comprising a range of additional methods used to speed up page changes and submit forms. High performance is achieved by dividing web pages into components and transmitting them via WebSocket. If you want to learn more details about Hotwire and its other main elements, visit the official page of the project.

First Look at React Server Components

React Server Components

This month, the React development team has previewed an upcoming feature for its framework - React Server Components (RFC). This functionality will enable developers to render components on the back-end only, thereby providing a lot of positive implications for React-based web projects. First of all, the RFC is expected to ensure faster performance by reducing overall bundle sizes of production React apps. Moreover, this feature can provide a better user experience and optimized maintenance.

The RFC is still experimental, therefore the dev team has created a demo and shared it with the React community to receive informative feedback on the feature. If you like React and want help in making this promising new feature even better, learn the details on the React blog page.

Major API Update Comes to Google Apps Script

Google Apps Script

If you are a big fan of Google Workspace, then you are probably familiar with Apps Script. It is a flexible JavaScript-based platform that allows developers to easily create add-ons for Google products, thereby enhancing their capabilities. This December, Google has rolled out a major update to the API of this scripting platform that features a wide range of useful improvements. Developers now can take advantage of a new IDE, enhanced debugger’s performance, numerous additions to the code editor, and much more. Check the full list of updates in the Apps Script release notes.

Useful Tips and Articles

Building a User-Friendly JavaScript App with DHTMLX Suite

If you want to build a user-friendly web app, the DHTMLX team has prepared a four-step guide with lots of tips for a great design and efficient work with DHTMLX widgets. Using explanatory notes complemented with live examples and related demos at each step, you will learn how to implement the desired navigation type, choose the most appropriate way of adding and editing data, apply various filtering options, and style your app with CSS widget templates.

Interesting Things to Know about JavaScript Security Vulnerabilities

Security vulnerabilities in software applications often turn out to be an expensive headache for developers and an unpleasant experience for end-users. The new State of Software Security report prepared by Veracode gives some remarkable statistical info on the main security flaws that occur in apps written in various programming languages, including JavaScript. The report is based on the data received after thorough scanning of 130K apps.

According to the results, it can be said that JavaScript is quite reliable in terms of security compared to other programming languages. For instance, approximately 31.5% of apps written in JavaScript have at least one cross-site scripting (XSS) flaw against 74.6% in PHP apps. The number of JavaScript apps with high-severity flaws is rather low (9.6%), while in C++ based apps the number reaches 59%. The survey says that the most common security defects in JavaScript-based apps are cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws, credentials management issues, CRLF injections, and insufficient input validation. Visit the Veracode webpage to learn more interesting facts from this report.

Top JavaScript and Web Development Trends in 2021

Each year brings some new approaches and JavaScript technologies to the web development world. Therefore, it can be very useful for web developers to analyze future trends and keep their technology stacks up to date. Taking into account the results of popular annual surveys related to the subject, it is unlikely that 2021 will surprise dev communities with some drastic changes.

But still, it is possible to point out some promising tools that may become a good alternative to well-established front-end technologies in coming years. This informative article will give you new insights into JavaScript frameworks, back-end technologies, CSS options, and other web development trends for the next year.

Overview of Upcoming JavaScript Features

For the last five years, JavaScript has been regularly updated with a set of new features that offer greater opportunities for creating modern web apps. All novelties go through a multi-stage selection process carefully conducted by the TC39 committee. At the moment, five proposals are approved to be added to a standardized specification of JavaScript (also named as ECMAScript) in 2021. Coders will be able to make use of the string prototype replaceAll, logical assignment operators, numeric separators, Promise.any() method, WeakRef and FinalizationRegistry objects. Watch this video to get acquainted with these features in more detail and understand how they work in practice.

Useful JavaScript Tips and Tricks for Web Developers

If you are a newcomer to JavaScript, then it is a must to constantly enhance your knowledge and pick up new coding skills to be in demand on the job market. In JavaScript, many things can be implemented in different ways and it is important to find one that will allow keeping your code clean and readable. In this article, you can find some handy tips and tricks for boosting your efficiency and productivity when writing JavaScript code.

I hope that you’ve drawn some valuable insights from all the JavaScript stuff reviewed in this digest. Take care and stay tuned for new articles dedicated to JavaScript and web development in 2021!

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