All Things Web

JS Roundup: Episode 04

This is JS Roundup, our monthly series where we gather together the most interesting news from the world of JavaScript.

In this episode, we’ll cover Node.js and Next.js updates, news from the Google Chromium team, and more!

Below you’ll find the transcript of the video. We’ve added it here for those who prefer to read rather than watch. It also contains links to additional information.

Node.js 17

Ebenezer Don: On October 19, Node.js announced a major version 17 release. As mentioned in a blog post from Bethany Griggs, Node.js 17 is replacing Node.js 16 as the ‘current’ release line, with Node.js 16 being promoted to long-term support next week. You can expect new releases of Node.js 17 approximately every two weeks.

Some of the major highlights from this new release include additional promisified APIs, stack traces with Node.js version, OpenSSL 3.0 support, and the V8 JavaScript Engine was updated to 9.5.

To start using Node.js 17, you can find it on the official Node.js download page, or use the Node.js version manager, NVM, by running the command nvm install 17 on your terminal.


Paul Everitt: I am…“all about that web, ‘bout that web”. In October, the Google Chromium team announced RenderingNG. This is the culmination of 8 years of effort towards “a next-generation rendering architecture that greatly outperforms what came before”.

What’s it about?

  • Reliability. Their most important goal. They claim to have rewritten THE WHOLE STACK of something that has to be one of the most complex pieces of software on the planet.
  • Performance. They are looking at GPU and multi-core. When RenderingNG was originally written, these two weren’t so much of a thing, but now they are prevalent and the team wants performance to take advantage of it.
  • Extensibility. They want Chrome to adapt much faster to new web APIs.

One of the points mentioned in the blog post was global savings in energy. I keep seeing this pop up, for example, the core Python team mentioned it, too. It is nice to see our industry recognize our part in global climate change.

Here is a hot take: Chrome is becoming a near-monopoly. Is anybody worried about browser monoculture, from a single vendor? Let us know in the comments.

Next.js 12

Ebenezer: Next.js 12, the biggest ever release from the Next.js team, was announced on October 26, at the Next.js Conf.

Some of the major highlights from this new version include:

  • Rust compiler, which promises 3X faster refresh and about 5X faster builds.
  • Introduction of middleware, which enables full flexibility in Next.js, along with the introduction of Edge functions for building fast, dynamic server-side rendered apps.
  • React 18 support.
  • More image optimization options.
  • Optimized SEO for web crawlers.
  • Native ES modules support.
  • URL imports.
  • React Server Component, including SSR streaming.

To start using Next.js 12, you can update your version by running the command npm i next@latest. Also, check out the Next.js 12 release blog post for more details about these new features.

Paul: This does sound like the biggest release ever. I know you are doing a lot with Next.js, you wrote a blog post on the WebStorm blog about it, and featured it in some of your videos. Are you going to give version 12 a try?

Ebenezer: I am going to give it a try and I look forward to creating more content on Next.js 12 specifically.


Ebenezer: MDX, the popular JavaScript library that allows you to use JSX in markdown files, released version 2 in October. Some of the major highlights with this new version include:

  • Improved syntax, which makes it easier to use markdown in JSX.
  • Support for any JSX runtime including React, Preact, Vue, and Emotion.
  • At least 25% faster compilation.
  • 100% faster runtime for generated code.
  • And so much more.

Titus Wormer did a great job of providing a more detailed read on MDX version 2 in their release blog post.

PWA Summit

Paul: In October, Ebenezer and I attended the PWA Summit, a conference dedicated to Progressive Web Applications. There were lots of great and thought-provoking talks. 2022 might not be the “Year of Linux on the Desktop”, but hopefully it’s the year when PWAs have a bigger footprint. Come on, Apple, get Mobile Safari compliant!

Build Whack-a-Mole in 1 Hour Webinar

Ebenezer: Every day it’s becoming clearer that JavaScript can be used to build anything, including games. On October 26, we had a webinar with the lovely Ania Kubow on building a game of Whack-a-Mole with JavaScript. As always with Ania, this was engaging and very understandable. Ania is a pro at building JavaScript games, and already has a lot of gaming tutorials and courses that you can go check out right now. Want to watch the webinar? It’s available on JetBrains TV.

Paul: We had so much fun on that webinar! As you said she is a pro at the games, but Ania also has a gift for teaching beginners.

Tweet of the Month

Paul: Thank you to everyone who joined us for JetBrains JavaScript Day 2021! And a huge thank you to our speakers, Debbie O’Brien, Ujjwal Sharma, Florian Scholz, Charlie Gerard, Aaron Frost, Carson Gross, Tracy Lee, and Andrey Grandilevskiy.

That’s it for today’s episode of JS Roundup. What do you want us to cover in the next episode? Let us know here or get in touch with Ebenezer, Paul, or the WebStorm team on Twitter!

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