Cloudflare Leads Efforts to Make JavaScript Environments Interoperable – TechCrunch – Advice Eating

Cloudflare announced today that it is collaborating with Deno, the development company behind the Deno runtime of the same name, and individual contributors to the Node.js open source project to create standards that allow developers to share code between Deno, Node. js and Cloudflare’s serverless app platform , Cloudflare workers. Matthew Prince, Cloudflare co-founder and CEO, says the effort will allow apps to be ported between Workers, Deno and Node.js without requiring a rewrite, a feat that is currently unattainable.

“JavaScript is used by millions of developers and is typically the first language they learn. Until now, JavaScript standards like the browser have focused solely on the front end,” Prince said in an email interview with TechCrunch. “By standardizing the core JavaScript APIs for both the frontend and the backend, we can enable frontend developers to access the backend in a more familiar way than ever.”

Node.js is built on top of Google’s open-source V8 JavaScript engine and is credited with unifying web application development around a single programming language, JavaScript, which allows developers to run server-side scripts to create dynamic web page content to create before sending the page to a user’s web browser. But despite more than a decade of development, Node.js lacks interoperability. Developers had to rely on tacit knowledge and develop tools to share code across the different JavaScript environments.

“The future of JavaScript is universal, the ability to move JavaScript between many environments. That future must be consciously designed,” said Myles Borins, a member of the Node.js Technical Steering Committee, the technical governing body of Node.js, in a statement. “The promise of ‘write once, run anywhere’ is only possible with collaborative initiatives like the Web-interoperable Runtimes Community Group.”

Cloudflare, Deno, and select Node.js contributors to the Node.js Technical Steering Committee will develop API-based interoperability standards as part of the Web-interoperable Runtimes Community Group, a group of the World Wide Web Consortium. Together, they will aim to simplify the use of tools and integrations from the JavaScript community across runtimes, remove platform-specific nuance, and allow apps to evolve and change over time without rewrites.

“Deno’s broad success in the ecosystem can be attributed in large part to our strict adherence to web platform standards,” said Luca Casonato, Deno’s software engineer, in a statement. “We knew from the start that Deno could only be successful if it was completely focused on browser interoperability – developers and broad ecosystem trends showed us that bet was right. In addition to our existing standard work with…W3C, we’re excited to be working with Cloudflare and Node.js collaborators on even better runtime interoperability.”

Prince added: “[W]When JavaScript APIs look, feel, and behave the same across the most popular JavaScript environments (Node, Deno, and Workers), developers win. Our goal is to free developers from being locked into one environment – moving to a new environment shouldn’t mean rewriting your entire application.”

Of course, that would be beneficial for Cloudflare, which launched the Workers platform out of beta in 2018. A revenue driver for Cloudflare – Workers charges a fee for stacks of server-side tasks – more than 450,000 developers have built on the platform and more than three million apps have been launched, according to Prince. Cloudflare is no doubt hoping to boost those numbers by convincing development teams to migrate from other JavaScript environments — especially given the company’s bleak earnings forecasts.

Not entirely coincidentally, Cloudflare also announced today that it is open sourcing the Workers runtime environment under the Apache V2 license. The company bills the move as a response to vendor lock-in, but it’s also raising the profile of workers — serving more or less as free advertising.

“It is not enough just to write down standards. [By] By open sourcing the Cloudflare Workers Runtime, we are making these APIs widely available and giving developers an easy way to adopt the new standards,” said Prince. “There are two things developers hesitate about when adopting a new development platform. The first: you worry about being locked up. No matter how optimistic you are about the technology, if you’re betting a company’s future on a development platform, you don’t want the possibility of being held for ransom. Second, as a developer, you want a local development environment to quickly iterate and test your changes. Open source the Workers runtime solves both of these problems by giving developers a standard that runs anywhere, ie both in any hosting environment and on their local machine for quick testing and iterations.”

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