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Pavel Lazarev
Pavel Lazarev

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JavaScript News and Updates of September 2021

Leanardo da Vinci once said that learning never exhausts the mind. It is hard to argue with these words, especially if you enjoy learning new stuff from the JavaScript world, where a lot of interesting things happen with great regularity. I invite you to review recent news and updates related to the most used programming language. This time you will learn about a new JavaScript framework from MicroEJ, major updates of Electron.js and DHTMLX Diagram, Parcel 2 release candidate, Gatsby 4 beta, and upcoming changes in Ruby on Rails. You will also become familiar with helpful articles to improve your expertise in JavaScript.

Let's get to it!

New Tools and Updates

Parcel 2 Release Candidate is Now Available

Parcel logo

Parcel is one of the numerous tools designed to make the lives of developers easier. It helps to collect pieces of JavaScript and their dependencies as well as other front-end assets and puts them into single files. Programmers who use this lightweight web application bundler will be excited to hear that soon it will be updated to version 2.

Currently, it is available as a release candidate. Fully rewritten during the last three years, Parcel 2 is expected to offer significant performance improvements thanks to the use of the swc compiler. The new version is notable for the introduced support of differential bundling. We can also mention numerous improvements related to JSX, web workers, source maps, caching, etc. Visit the Parcel blog to get complete information on this release.

Meet DHTMLX Diagram 4.0

DHTMLX JavaScript diagramming library

Data visualization is an essential aspect of modern web development. This approach helps to present complex data in a visual format using diagrams, charts, maps, etc. Programmers frequently make use of special JavaScript diagramming components to integrate such functionality in web applications much faster. DHTMLX Diagram is a good option for such objectives. This solution is remarkable for the availability of live editors that allow building diagrams without coding at all. In September, this useful JavaScript library was updated to version 4.0.

The most notable thing about this release is the appearance of swimlanes. This feature is indispensable when it is necessary to split up intricate processes into understandable stages. A wide range of customization options gives a chance to set up swimlanes that correspond to any specific requirements. When working on comprehensive diagrams with DHTMLX, it has also become possible to generate groups consisting of individual shapes as well as sub-groups that meet certain criteria. The DHTMLX Diagram editor now also supports groups and swimlanes and allows adding identical diagram shapes with different settings. If you want to know more details about this major update, check out the release article.

New JS Framework for Embedded Development

MICROEJ Kifaru - JS framework

MicroEJ, a major provider of software solutions for embedded and IoT technologies, presented its new product called MICROEJ Kifaru. It is a brand-new JavaScript framework designed to facilitate the development of embedded systems. This tool has become a nice addition to the company’s virtual embedded environment (VEE), making it more accessible to the development community. More than 100 million MicroEJ-powered IoT devices have already been sold and the new framework will help to increase this number. Moreover, MicroEJ also plans to increase the number of supported languages by including Kotlin and Python in the future. Check out this video presentation of MICROEJ Kifaru.

A New Way of Writing JavaScript in Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails framework logo

Ruby on Rails (or simply Rails) is a popular server-side framework designed for building web applications using the MVC pattern. Written in Ruby, this technology is especially useful for the development of web apps with complex business logic and high performance requirements. Recently, the team that runs this project announced the alpha release of Ruby on Rails 7. And it can be said with certainty that the framework will go through significant changes.

First of all, it is planned to take a new approach for writing JS code in Rails. Instead of Webpack used for JS coding for the past several years, Rails 7 will take advantage of the improved support of ES6 in modern browsers, JS modules, HTTP/2, and the Import Maps for Rails tool. The adaptation of the Stimulus JS framework and Turbo tool will give an opportunity to use less custom JS. The process of integration between Rails and JS + CSS bundlers has also been significantly improved. If you are curious to know more details about the future of this framework, read this article.

What’s New in Electron.js 15.0

Electron.js framework

If you ever thought about creating a desktop application using web technologies, you are certainly familiar with Electron.js. This framework is a popular tool that helps transform your JavaScript ideas into a desktop solution. Under the hood, it utilizes Node.js and a rendering engine from Chromium. Although many complain that this framework consumes too much computer resources, it lies at the core of popular applications such as Atom, VSCode, Discord, etc. And recently, the Electron development team has unveiled a major update (v15.0) of its product.

The new version comes with a range of useful upgrades to Chromium 94, V8 9.4, and Node.js 16.5. It also includes some API changes and general enhancements. It is also worth mentioning that starting from September 2021 Electron changes its release cadence. From now on, major updates of the framework will be delivered every 8 instead of a 12-week release cycle. The list of supported Electron versions will also be amended. Find more details about v15.0 and the plan for further releases in the Electron blog.

What to Expect from Gatsby 4

Gatsby 4 alpha release

Gatsby.js is a free front-end framework that embraces the capabilities of React, GraphQL, and Webpack for delivering performant static apps. Any developer who considers this tool as a potential addition to their tech stack should certainly explore a range of significant updates included in the upcoming release of Gatsby 4. The most notable changes include new rendering options, parallel query running, and upgraded Gatsby Cloud preview. Right now v4 is available as a public beta version, therefore anyone who is interested in this framework can already estimate its new features in practice. You can find more information on this release by visiting the web page dedicated to Gatsby 4.

Useful Tips and Articles

Learning Web Technologies via Interactive Games

Once you decide to become a web developer, you’ve got to be ready for everyday learning to maintain a high level of knowledge in constantly evolving web technologies. But traditional approaches to learning may seem boring and discouraging. There is a good recipe for dealing with such problems. You can learn new stuff while playing educational games. This article offers a collection of interactive tools that will help you to combine the useful with the pleasant.

Making your Work with Git More Effective

When you are a part of a large team of programmers involved in the development of a web application, it is essential to have a reliable version control system at your disposal. The chances are high that you will choose Git. It is a popular tool complemented with plenty of useful features for coordinating the coding efforts of the whole dev team. If you want to become good at Git, you should expand your knowledge with new techniques. This video will help you to learn some useful tips and tricks about using Git in practice.

What to Expect from ES2022

The twelfth edition of the ECMAScript (also known as ES2021) standard became an official approval for the adoption of new features in JavaScript. It was released just a few months ago, but we already can take a look into the future of JavaScript and get acquainted with novelties that are likely to become a part of the most popular programming language next year. The latest draft for the future ECMAScript release includes seven proposals that reached the last selection stage (4-th) performed by the TC39 committee. If you are curious to know more about potential new JS features, don’t miss this article.

Dealing with Performance Issues in Text Inputs

It can be really annoying when the text typed into the input fields of an application is displayed with a delay. Such little issues can spoil users’ overall impression of any app, thus it should be taken with utmost seriousness. In most cases, this performance problem occurs because developers take the wrong approach for implementing this kind of function. Fortunately, it is usually solved using a couple of simple tricks explained in this article.

How to Avoid Common NPM Mistakes

npm is probably the first tool that pops into your head when it is necessary to manage code dependencies. This package manager is easy to use, so even beginners won’t need much time to master its core capabilities. Moreover, npm has a large community that constantly works to make this technology even better. But if you decide to apply custom configurations or enable some advanced features in npm, you may face serious issues. The author of this article describes seven scenarios when things can go wrong with npm and explains how to avoid them.

That wraps up all the JavaScript materials that I wanted to share with you in September. Feel free to share your thoughts on the news and updates reviewed in this article. Take care and see you next month.

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