A Note from the JS Foundation: 2018 Accomplishments and Our Path Forward

By December 13, 2018 Blog

In early October, we announced an intent to merge with the Node.js Foundation. There is an incredible amount of potential in a combined Foundation, especially as it gives us the opportunity to support an even wider range of projects that the JavaScript ecosystem is dependent on and projects that focus on new areas of growth for JavaScript.

When we started the JS Foundation in 2016, our mission was to help JavaScript application and server-side projects cultivate best practices and policies that promote a broad and diverse contribution base for long-term stability as well as continue our work in standards bodies like ECMA and W3C to ensure a developer voice is represented in those efforts. This goal and drive has not changed, but we believe we can streamline operations to better serve the community and our members, and expand this opportunity to more projects if we have a combined Foundation.

If you are interested in learning more about the process or participating in discussions on the intent to merge, you can follow discussions on GitHub and join a weekly meetings on the topic, next meeting is December 17 at 2pm ET and you can listen in on YouTube here. You can also view our initial town hall meeting, which happened at Node+JS Interactive.

As this year comes to a close, we are excited about our future, and are equally proud of all that we’ve achieved this year. Below is a glimpse of top achievements from the JS Foundation, and our 28 projects in 2018.

Please share your favorite JavaScript moments in the comment section too 🎉

First Conference: Node+JS Interactive

Node+JS Interactive happened in mid-October and was hosted by the JS Foundation and Node.js Foundation. The conference brought nearly 1,000 developers to Vancouver, Canada to discuss and collaborate on topics like JavaScript, serverless, community, Node.js, IoT and much more.

If you were not able to attend, you can watch a playlist of the conference via YouTube here. A few highlights include:

FitBit Opens SDK to JavaScript Developers

FitBit Ionic marked the first big push from FitBit in the smartwatch sector. Under the surface of this watch, the company uses JerryScript, an open source lightweight JavaScript engine built to power the Internet of Things AND a JS Foundation project.

In conjunction with the launch of the Ionic smartwatch – and for the first time – Fitbit released its software development kit (SDK) to allow JavaScript developers to create applications and clock faces for Fitbit OS to share and submit those apps to the Fitbit App Gallery.

JerryScript is also used in FitBit’s latest watch, Versa. FitBit beat Q2 expectations due to the strong Versa sales, which outpaced the combined sales of Samsung, Garmin and Fossil smartwatches in North America.

Dojo Releases Dojo 2, Dojo 3, Dojo 4…

2018 was a very big year for Dojo, a JavaScript toolkit that helps developers scale their development processes, with its first major rewrite in 10 years, versions 2, 3, 4 released, and version 5 on the way!

The improvements in version 2 provide a vastly more efficient development experience and front-end architecture, as well as, a compelling way to build modern applications with TypeScript, leveraging a dizzying array of modern standards and best practices including but not limited to ES2015+, TypeScript, custom elements (web components), Progressive Web Apps (PWA), reactive virtual DOM, Intersection Observers, routing, accessibility (a11y), internationalization (i18n), CSS modules, data stores, and much more.

The main focus for versions 3 and 4 was improving application optimization and analyzing, focusing on tooling that can enable these features by default.

Developer ergonomics, efficient source code, consistent and flexible architecture, interoperability and alignment with modern standards, and strong community support are fundamental reasons for choosing a framework. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve Dojo and provide the community with the best possible modern framework.

Version 5 will be released early next year!

The reason for this new rapid development?

Working with other JS Foundation projects, Dojo brings releases to developers faster. Collaboration = Winning!

Intern 4.3 Release: High-quality JavaScript Testing Software

Intern: next-gen JavaScript testing had a 4.3 release this year which includes a number of fixes and updates to continue providing a solid test platform for unit, functional, performance, accessibility, and visual regression testing, code coverage analysis, and Intern Recorded, a Chrome DevTools extension for recording functional tests.

Particle Releases IoT Rules Engine and Node-RED Becomes its Legos

Particle released several IoT products in October of this year; including the IoT Rules Engine, which offers developers building blocks to create the rules needed for any IoT use case.

The engine is built on JS Foundation’s Node-RED, which gives developers access to thousands of community-contributed logic snippets, called nodes, for their workflows.

Hitachi also plans to use Node-RED as the tooling for its Lumada platform, and Node-RED is the core of Sense Tecnic Systems’ cloud hosted FRED service to streamline the development and integration of IoT applications aimed at the enterprise.

Use of Interledger.js Builds and Promises of Blockchain are Realized

Blockchain technology is at a crucial growth point in the industry. Increased interoperability and standardization as well as faster development is needed for further growth, according to a recent report from Deloitte.

Interledger, a computer protocol designed to enable payments between different distributed ledger networks, stands to help with interoperability issues. Interledger.js is the JavaScript reference implementation of the Interledger protocol.

Several new applications and protocols based on the Interledger.js reference implementation emerged this year, including:

  • Mojaloop, a project in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that increases access to digital financial services to developing countries via mobile devices. This is enabled through the Interledger protocol and Interledger.js technology.
  • Coil is bringing web modernization to content creators via the Interledger protocol.
  • Codius is a distributed hosting protocol that brings peer-to-peer hosting, decentralized applications and smart contracts to app developers. Codius apps can “can pay each other using any currency using Interledger.”

This is just the beginning to a larger trend around JavaScript advancing blockchain innovation in the market.

A New Name and Improved User Experience with webhint

In August of this year, sonarwhal changed its name to webhint to better describe what the project does: a linting tool for the web that caters to a developers specific project needs (you give the tool the “hint” that it needs.

Along with the new name, the team improved its user experience. The start up time is now 300% faster than before and it’s much easier to install webhint globally – more on how user experience improved in this blog post.

Web Interoperability Improvements

A lot of work has gone into improving the test suites for JavaScript (test262) and the other web platform languages (web-platform-tests). These are multi-year projects for spec conformance and regression-testing. In JS and Ecma TC39, a new feature can’t make it into the language unless it has tests, and those tests pass with introducing regressions (with some exceptions). This is also becoming a trend at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with more than half of the active working groups pushing for tests in WPT.

Interoperability prevents vendor (and data) lock-in, and facilitates the connection of a diverse group of people, networks, applications, data, and systems. Improvements to these tests increase the technical compatibility of features across different browsers and language runtimes, which means web developers can confidently write applications that run in a variety of contexts with fewer regressions.

The Node.js, JS community and web standards communities have paid specific attention to the WPT and Test262 tests to help language implementers share a common test suite allowing them to contribute and improve tests in a way that benefits the whole platform. The Node.js community is leading an effort within the group to re-write tests so that the same test suites used in the browser can be consumed & contributed to by Node.js.

“Web interoperability is one of the most important and exciting opportunities for the JavaScript and Node.js communities to work together on,” said Jory Burson, standards liaison for Bocoup. “This collaboration helps highlight areas where we have the greatest opportunity to close an interoperability gap and work with the developer community, browser vendors, spec authors, and other implementers to figure out the right solution and path forward.”

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who worked to build the JavaScript tools and technologies that power everything from the web, IoT, native apps, DevOps, protocols and more.

We can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings for this amazing ecosystem and awesome community.

Kaitlyn Barnard

Author Kaitlyn Barnard

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