In this post, you'll learn what Deno and Bun are, what they offer, and how they address some long-standing drawbacks in Node.js. We'll shed light on specific use cases where Deno and Bun excel.
Join us on this journey to discover the potential of Deno and Bun!
- V8: Developed by Google to support Chrome and Chromium.
- SpiderMonkey: Maintained by the Mozilla Foundation for Firefox.
About Node.js, Deno, and Bun: A Brief History
Let’s now see the distinct features and capabilities offered by the two technologies.
⚙️ Main Features and Characteristics of Deno
- Native TypeScript support: Developers can write and run TypeScript code seamlessly.
- Permission APIs: A built-in system for enforcing fine-grained permissions to control what scripts are allowed to do.
- Rust core: The runtime core is written in Rust, a language known for its reliability and performance.
- Security: Deno is secure by default, thanks to its permission model.
- TypeScript integration: TypeScript is supported natively without the need for additional setup or tools.
- Small ecosystem: There are only a few thousand third-party Deno models available.
- Migration challenges: Migrating existing Node.js projects to Deno may require considerable adjustments because of the significant differences between the two projects.
⚙️ Main Features and Characteristics of Bun
- More control: Zig is a low-level language that provides great control over code execution.
- npm-compatible package manager: Bun can install npm packages 20 times to 100 times faster than
- Node.js compatibility: Bun is designed to work with existing Node.js codebases.
- Web standards: Bun implements the most widely adopted web standard APIs, such as the Fetch API and WebSocket API.
- Limited adoption: The technology is relatively new. The roadmap still involves many key features and the tool doesn’t yet have a large user base or ecosystem.
But Wait, Why Wasn't Node.js Enough?
It's time to dig into the drawbacks of Node.js and find out how Deno and Bun plan to address them!
Node.js is single-threaded, which means it can only use one CPU core at a time. While it is designed to handle asynchronous I/O operations, that can lead to performance bottlenecks with CPU-intensive tasks.
Node.js doesn’t natively support TypeScript. To use TypeScript in Node.js, you need to set up transpilation and execution tools. This additional setup takes time, isn't always easy, and may introduce numerous challenges.
Both Deno and Bun offer first-class integrated TypeScript and JSX support. Developers have the ability to write and run TypeScript code seamlessly. This removes the need for extra tools, providing a better development experience.
Node.js itself is quite secure and has no known significant vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the hundreds of thousands of npm libraries available. The main issue is that the permission mechanism is still experimental at the time of writing. That will support marking loaded resources as untrusted or trusted for added security.
Deno prioritizes security with its robust permission system that enforces strict access controls. For example, a script must be explicitly granted permission to access specific resources. By default, a Deno script has no access to files, the network, or the environment. That reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access.
In contrast, as Bun offers backward compatibility to Node.js, it also inherits all its security issues. Bun's emphasis on performance may lead the community to focus on speed over security. The team behind it hasn’t yet focused on this drawback.
Compliance with Web Standards
Deno and Bun were born years after Node.js, when web standards had already become popular. Thus, they have both prioritized the implementation of those standards since day one. This makes code written in Deno and Bun easier to translate for browsers and vice versa.
Will Deno or Bun Replace Node.js?
No, Deno and Bun won't replace Node.js, for several compelling reasons:
- The extensive npm ecosystem has solidified Node.js in the web development landscape.
- Transitioning to a new technology always involves some migration challenges.
- Companies aren't likely to abandon their investments in Node.js for less mature technologies.
- Performance and security improvements aren't enough to justify the switch.
- Finding Deno and Bun developers is way harder than finding Node.js developers.
What's for sure is that the Node.js team won't sit on their hands while Deno and Bun carve out a slice of the market. Quite the contrary: they'll take inspiration from the key features offered by their competitors for future improvements.
So, Deno and Bun aren't bound to retire Node.js, and that’s perfectly fine!
Their goal shouldn’t be to compete with Node.js, but to become a viable alternative for specific use cases and requirements. For example, Deno is appealing for projects where security is paramount. Bun, on the other hand, is more suitable for performance-oriented applications.
You now know:
- How we went from Node.js to Deno, and then to Bun
- What Deno is and what it has to offer
- What Bun is and what it has to offer
- The drawbacks of Node.js and how Deno and Bun address some of these drawbacks
Thanks for reading!
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