Diving into Deno: A Fresh Take on JavaScript Runtime published 9/2/2023 | 3 min read

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Today, we journey into the world of Deno - a modern, secure runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript designed to address the shortcomings of Node.js. As a developer, you've probably encountered Node.js at some point, but have you tried Deno yet? This blog post explores why Deno is turning heads in the developer ecosystem and how it impacts your JavaScript coding experience.

Understanding Deno: A Secure Runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript

Developed by Ryan Dahl, the original creator of Node.js, Deno is built on the same V8 JavaScript runtime engine as Node.js but with a refreshingly new approach. Dahl designed Deno aiming to rectify many issues and design flaws he had identified in Node.js.

Deno has several striking features:

import { serve } from "https://deno.land/std@0.66.0/http/server.ts";
const server = serve({ port: 8000 });
for await (const req of server) {
  req.respond({ body: "Hello World
" });

Deno vs Node.js: What differenciates Deno?

One of the main differences is the outstanding security features in Deno. Node.js scripts have unlimited access to your system's resources. In contrast, Deno scripts operate in a secure environment with only minimal permissions to SHM or network resources unless explicitly granted.

Another significant difference is the import system with Deno. Unlike Node.js which uses the npm package manager, Deno uses direct URLs for imports. It cuts off the requirement for a node_modules folder or a package.json file in your project.

Set Up and Execution with Deno

Setting up Deno is a breeze. You just need to download the executable from the official Deno website or use a command-line package manager like Homebrew.

# Using Shell (macOS, Linux):
curl -fsSL https://deno.land/x/install/install.sh | sh

# Using PowerShell (Windows):
iwr https://deno.land/x/install/install.ps1 -useb | iex

# With Homebrew (macOS):
brew install deno

To execute a Deno script, use the deno run command followed by permissions and the script name.

deno run --allow-net server.ts

Taming the Deno: Final Thoughts

As progressive as Deno appears, it's worth mentioning that Node.js continues to have a larger community, more modules, and greater support due to its extensive history. It is advisable to continue with Node.js for large-scale, production-ready applications for now until Deno matures.

However, should you wish to advance with the latest tech offerings and are developing small projects, experimenting with Deno will undoubtedly elevate your JavaScript experience.

One thing is clear: Deno brings a fresh perspective to JS runtime and appears poised for a bright future. However, as developers, we must be cautious and meticulous in adapting emerging technologies into our core workflow. Happy experimenting!

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