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Wasm promises to let developers build once and run anywhere. Are you using it yet?
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I don’t use WebAssembly but expect to when the technology matures
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Frontend Development / JavaScript / Large Language Models / Python

Dev News: Bun Shell, Zed Goes Open Source, Nue Builds Out

Shell scripts in Bun, Expo updates SDK, Nue adds Markdown-based text editing format, and Ollama releases JavaScript, Python libraries.
Jan 27th, 2024 6:00am by
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It’s too hard to write shell scripts in JavaScript, according to Jarred Sumner, creator of the JavaScript runtime and toolkit Bun. In a recent blog post, he explained why shell scripts are so hard and concluded that they really shouldn’t be so difficult.

“In the world of 2009-2016, when JavaScript was still relatively new and experimental, relying on the community to polyfill missing functionality made a lot of sense,” he wrote. “But it’s 2024 now. JavaScript on the server is mature and widely adopted. The JavaScript ecosystem understands the requirements today in a way nobody did in 2009.”

Sumner is addressing this shortcoming with Bun Shell, an experimental embedded language and interpreter in Bun that will let developers run cross-platform shell scripts in JavaScript and TypeScript.

Bun Shell is written into Bun so that anyone running Bun v1.0.24 or later can use it now, he added. Bun is currently on v1.0.25, which was released Saturday. Bun shell works on Windows, macOS and Linux and is designed as a drop-in replacement for simple shell scripts.

“We’ve implemented many common commands and features like globbing, environment variables, redirection, piping, and more,” he wrote.

Zed Code Editor Now Open Source

Zed Industries officially open sourced its multiplayer code editor Zed on Wednesday, a move it said is designed to foster collaboration and advance the evolution of the the tool. Zed is now available under the GPL v3, although a small number of server-side components are under the AGPL. Also, the UI framework behind Zed — GPUI — will be available under the Apache 2 license, which will give developers “greater flexibility in building and distributing high-performance desktop applications,” the company said in a press release.

Zed is also launching a new program called Fireside Hacks in the newly introduced Zed Channels feature. It will allow developers worldwide to collaborate in real time by sharing a link. It will also feature live-streamed coding sessions, which will allow participants to interact with the Zed development team. A schedule for the Fireside Hacks will be announced soon, although Discord and X (Twitter) will be used to announce spontaneous coding sessions.

The GitHub repository includes information on how to contribute to Zed.

Nue Introduces Nuemark for Rich Internet Content Editing

Nue continues to build out a new frontend development toolset that can be an alternative to Vercel, Gatsby and Netlify. The latest release is Nuemark, a Markdown-based text editing format for rich internet content.

Nuemark takes a content-first approach to web development, according to its creator, Tero Piirainen.

“Nuemark lets you manage content like a hacker without the complexity of large systems like WordPress or Contentful,” Piirainen wrote. “With Nuemark, you start with pure content: text, images, and videos and only then move into layout and design. By starting with a content-first mindset, you will ensure that the page design evolves to support what’s inside it. Not the other way around.”

The content is stored in Git and managed with an editor like VS Code or Sublime Text, he added.

Nuemark differs from prior alternatives like MDX and Markdoc because it targets content creators without “‘scary’ JavaScript expressions or import statements that can break the page from rendering,” he wrote. “Familiarity with Markdown and YAML front matters is enough for crafting rich, interactive content.”

It also comes with a set of built-in components that can be used inside standard Markdown or mixed together to form more complex layouts. Also, he added, that when creators edit Nuemark within the Nue framework, they see the page update on the browser in real-time for a WYSIWYG experience.

Nuemark is “pure content with no HTML, CSS or JavaScript, so it’s hard to break things up,” he added.

Previous projects Piirainen has coded include Riot.js, Flowplayer, and jQuery Tools.

JavaScript, Python Libraries for Ollama

Ollama, the open source AI platform for running large language models locally, released the initial versions of its Python and JavaScript libraries Tuesday. Both libraries make it possible to integrate new and existing apps with Ollama in a few lines of code. They also “share the features and feel of the Ollama REST API,” according to Ollama’s blog post about the new libraries.

Both the JavaScript library and the Python library support streaming responses. The Ollama Python library supports integrating Python 3.8+ projects with Ollama.

Expo SDK 50 Released

Expo released Expo SDK 50 last week. The new version includes React Native 0.73.

Expo is an open source platform for creating universal native apps with React. It runs on Android, iOS and the web.

The SDK also introduces Expo Dev Tools Plugins for tools such as Apollo Client, TanStack Query, TinyBase, React Native Async Storage, and React Navigation. The plugins were created to validate and demonstrate a new API that provides a foundation for library authors to build their own browser-based plugins to debug and interact with aspects of their library or applications.

Expo also released Router v3, with beta support for servers.

“With this, Expo Router is now the first universal, full-stack React framework,” according to the changelog. It also noted the following new features:

  • API Routes (beta) for building universal server endpoints for apps and websites.
  • Bundle splitting (web): Route-based bundle splitting on the web for faster page loads.
  • Speed improvements with two times faster static web builds, 30% smaller base JS bundle and added .mjs support.
  • Testing library to test and reproduce complex navigation flows with Jest.
  • Web props: Configure and style components with the new target, push, and className props.

San Serif Fonts Top Most Used Free Fonts

Research by design firm found that the most downloaded free font on is the sans serif font Bebas Neue by designer Ryoichi Tsunekawa, with more than 23 million downloads at the time of the study. It’s used on more than 210,000 sites, the study found. Another sans-serif, Lemon Milk, came in second place with 20 million downloads. Waltograph (a Disney-inspired font), serif font Chopin Script, and sans-serif font Coolvetica rounded out the top five with approximately 12 million each.

Fun with React

React Jam is a contest that challenges React developers to create games along a specified theme within 10 days. It’s held each season and it recently announced the winners of the Winter jam, which was on the theme of cooperation. It also provides links to the games so developers can try them out.

The best game award went to Brian Breiholz’s effort, Cooper & Onita: Midnight Snack, which challenges the player to manipulate a dog and cat to treats. Cooking Frenzy by propcat won in the multiplayer division, with the contest being based on which multiplayer game had the highest play time over Jan 15-21 across Rune’s community. The site links to all of the games.

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