Four technologies to investigate in 2020

Written by Graham Francois
on February 27, 2020

The sdg Tech DNA night is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s a time to take stock of the technology developments of the past year, revisit last year’s predictions and think about where we’re headed for the next twelve months. The front end development group is always well represented, and this year was no exception. The technologies under consideration are sorted into five groups for where we think they are in their lifecycle – retire, maintain, use, prototype and, for me the most interesting, investigate. Of course, rarely new technology makes it through the whole lifecycle. Most lose steam and never gain the widespread adoption needed to make it to “use”, but they almost always start in “investigate”. When I first heard of React, Vue.js and GraphQL was when they were first placed in investigate by someone in the group pronouncing them the next big thing – they were right, that time.


Here are four shiny new technologies we are particularly excited about from this year’s Tech DNA that we will be investigating.


Entropic: a federated package registry for anything. Npm is the default package registry for all things FED. The problem, as the entropic folks see it, is npm, Inc. is a VC funded for-profit organization that controls what most of us think of as a public good. The current next best option, GitHub Package Registry, is also privately owned. Entropic is an attempt to create an open source alternative. I have to admit there is a bit of a tinfoil hat vibe to their mission and I have my doubts if they will be able to gain enough traction to make a dent.


Deno: Deno (node with the letters re-arranged) is a runtime environment for JavaScript and TypeScript based on the V8 JavaScript engine and written in Rust and TypeScript by Ryan Dahl, the original creator of Node.js. The glibbest explanation is a rewrite of Node with hindsight but the best place to start to understand Deno is Ryan’s presentation at JSConf, 10 Things I Regret About Node.js


Blazor: In many ways, Blazor is FED heresy. From Microsoft, it lets you build client web apps with C# instead of JavaScript. What makes it interesting is the use of WebAssembly to run client-side C# in the browser or the client code can be run on the server. Again, I’m skeptical about whether this is a good idea, coming from an open-source background, but I’m going to keep an eye on this one.


Playwright: Built by the team that originally built Puppeteer at Google, Playwright is their attempt to take it to the next level by making it cross browser. Like Entropic, they are also interested in creating a something that is vendor neutral with shared governance. Playwright is a library to automate Chromium, WebKit and Firefox based browsers using a single API. I personally think this one has huge potential.


All of these are in the beta or earlier stage, but we’ll revisit them at the next Tech DNA in 2021.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.