Will JavaScript type annotations kill TypeScript?
The creators of Svelte and Turbo 8 both dropped TS recently saying that "it's not worth it".
Yes: If JavaScript gets type annotations then there's no reason for TypeScript to exist.
No: TypeScript remains the best language for structuring large enterprise applications.
TBD: The existing user base and its corpensource owner means that TypeScript isn’t likely to reach EOL without a putting up a fight.
I hope they both die. I mean, if you really need strong types in the browser then you could leverage WASM and use a real programming language.
I don’t know and I don’t care.
AI / Frontend Development / Software Development

Dev News: Babylon.js 6.0, Vite Update, and the Perils of AI

In developer news this week: Babylon.js 6.0 and Vite 4.3 were released, a new State of JavaScript report came out, and AI Big Code worries.
Apr 29th, 2023 9:00am by
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Babylon.js 6.0 was released this week. The web-based 3D framework is a WebGL-based graphics engine with a visual scene builder and best-in-class physics-based rendering. The update incorporates new physics plugins, fluid rendering, screen reader support and improvements to how reflections are handled, according to a blog post by Babylon.js.

“We are very proud and excited to announce that the world-famous Havok team is bringing a new physics implementation to Babylon.js for FREE!” The blog post states. “Over the past year, we’ve been secretly working with the incredible Havok team to make some of the most advanced physics features on the web available to you, the amazing Babylon.js developers community!”

The Havoc Engine is best known for running games such as Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Havok’s expertise come to Babylon.js through a special Wasm plugin, along with a complete overhaul of the Babylon.js Physics API, the post noted. That will provide more power, control and features while making Babylon.js 6.0 easier to use, the company stated. A demo is available or you can try it out for yourself.

The update also introduces new performance priority modes that can produce up to 50x faster rendering and performance. Developers can choose between Backwards Compatibility Mode, Intermediate Mode, or Aggressive Mode.

Babylon.js 6.0 also incorporates:

  • New fluid rendering;
  • An updated screen space reflection model;
  • A new Texture Decals feature that allows developers to project a decal through a mesh’s UV space to be overlaid on top of the objects material’s texture. “This unlocks some fun new interaction possibilities for truly immersive web experiences without sacrificing performance,” the blog post noted;
  • Node Material, which allows developers to create complicated and interactive shaders without writing a single line of code. “With this work, it is now possible for developers to build more advanced 3D Graphics techniques into Node Material shaders including things like Ray Marching — check out the proof of concept using the new Node Material changes”;
  • Node Material Tri-Planar and Bi-Planar Projection Nodes. The former enables placing project textures onto 3D objects regardless of the mesh UVS. Bi-planar node works in a similar way on two 2D textures instead of three, which saves GPU calculations and leads “to seamless textures with a smaller hit to performance”; and
  • GUI Editor moves out of beta with this release. “This version builds on the Beta with a ton of stability improvements and bug fixes, but most importantly introduces a tighter connection to your Babylon.js playgrounds,” the blog post stated.

There’s also a Figma-to-Babylon.js community extension by James Simonson, which allows developers to export Figma GUI designs directly into Babylon.js scenes. Finally, the core Babylon.js scene tree is now visible to screen readers, improving accessibility — as the screen reader can now narrate scene elements and text to describe the scene to users.

Babylon.js 6.0 also includes a restructuring of Babylon.js’ documentation to make it more accessible to those who want to learn Babylon.js and those who want to integrate Babylon.js into their existing web applications, the post said.

Vite 4.3 Released

Vite 4.3 was released this week with performance improvements, according to this announcement. Vite is an open source development tool used for modern web applications, which comes with a dev server and bundler.

The website has more details, but this chart from the announcement shows some of the improvements over the previous Vite release.

Vite 4.3 Performance Improvements

Image via Vite

Vite 4.3’s vite-plugin-inspect now has more performance-related features, to allow developers to pinpoint plugins or middleware that are bottlenecks for applications.


…and then pressing “p” once the page loads will save a CPU profile of the dev server startup, the announcement noted.

“You can open them in an app as speedscope to identify performance issues,” the release stated. “And you can share your findings with the Vite Team in a Discussion or in Vite’s Discord.”

State of JavaScript 2022 Released

The State of JavaScript 2022 shows that Typescript’s popularity continues to grow, with more developers saying they use only Typescript (20.7%) — compared to 8.2% for vanilla JavaScript. The framework Svelte also saw a jump in usage, nearly doubling its adoption, although it’s still behind React, Angular and Vue.js, which have dominated for four years running, according to this blog post by Andrzej Wysoczański, head of frontend at The Software House.  

“A lot of frontend developers have an eye on Svelte, so it’s only a matter of time before it joins the most used JavaScript frameworks in the future,” Wysoczański wrote, adding that his team of developers created a simple game with Svelte in 2019 to see how it works. “The experience of working with Svelte was quite positive, and we are closely following its further growth,” he added.

More AI Means More Productivity and Problems

“Big Code” is when a codebase is made up of millions or even billions of lines of code, written by thousands of developers over time — and using AI for software development is likely to escalate the Big Code problem, predicts VentureBeat.

The article cites a recent study by Sourcegraph that queried more than 500 software developers and engineers and found that 95% were already using AI tools to write code. Among the AI they’re tapping into are ChatGPT, GitHub’s Copilot, and Cody, an AI coding assistant launched by Sourcegraph. Meanwhile, the report also found that only 65% of companies have a Big Code plan. Even fewer had a specific plan for using AI.

The report calls AI the best thing to happen to development in terms of productivity, but potentially the worst thing to happen in terms of codebases, subsequent technical debt and, of course, the security implementations.

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TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in: Sourcegraph.
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