JSJ 267 Node 8 with Mikeal Rogers, Arunesh Chandra, and Anna Henningsen
[1:56] Is Node 8 just an update or is there more?
- More than just an update
- Two main points:
- Improved Prana support
- Native API
- Native APIs are helpful for Native Add-ons. For both the consumer and the developer side.
- Prior to update these Node Native modules ran in C++ and bound to specific to Node 8 APIs.
- Causes these modules to be updated or reconciled every time these modules are rereleased.
- Creates burden for module maintainers.
- Creates friction in upgrading Node versions in production departments.
- If you have a deployment depending on a certain Native module, some of the modules may not get updated in time when updating your Node versions. Keeping people from updating Node.
- Creates compatibility issues with Node users not using Node 8
- Experimental support for a Native layer in Node 8 to eliminate these issues as much as possible.
- Important milestone for the module ecosystem.
- You can write extensions for Node in C++ and it decouples V8 so you can use something else on the front.
- Modules takes dependency on V8 API specific to a particular version. So if V8 changes your module will be extracted from that.
- As a side benefit, you can have another VM to take advantage of that.
- Major version upgrades mean updating Native modules and usually some of those modules haven’t updated to the newest version of Node and be complicated.
- Deep dependency wise, about 30% depends on a Native module somewhere
- In the future, with the Native API, you’ll be able to update Node without breaking modules.
[5:51] What kind of work went into this?
- Most of the work was in C++
- First thing that was done was, they looked at the top dependent Native modules in the ecosystem.
- Looked for what kind of V8 exposure they had and cataloged it
- Looked at how these APIs and what their purposes were
- Looked for a way to extract them so that they are part of Node Core
- Created neutral APIs, now part of the Node core.
- All C APIs
- Also has a C++ wrapper to improves usability of the API.
[7:17] What’s an example of what you can do with these APIs?
- Native modules allows for tighter integration and better module performance
- Having it bound directly to the VM was something they wanted for a long time
- Google controls V8 and they bind to V8
- Created a better relationship with Google starting in IOJS
- Also worked with Microsoft with their Node Shocker work.
- Same with SpiderMonkey
- SpiderNode is in the works
[9:23] Have you guys done any testing for performance?
- Some. There is a performance working group.
- There is a need to stay on top of V8
- V8 team has focused on new language features
- Many features have been added over the years
- Many didn’t come in optimized
- The performance profile has changed with these features
- If you’re using new language features, you will see a performance boost
- In core, still tracking down code that was specific to the old optimizer and rewriting i to work the new optimizer
- Turbo C compiler hasn’t landed yet, but is to come.
- Will have a completely different performance profile
- In most real world applications it will be faster
- Waiting on the release to take a version of V8 to make it easier to upgrade features in the future
[11:28] Are the new features picked up from V8 or implemented in Node?
- It’s all in V8
- Better longterm support
- Promises are made better in Node as a platform
- Added new method called
- Implementation comes from V8
- Allows for more optimization for promises in Node core
- Promise support for the one-deprecated domains module.
[13:02] Is there anything more than NMP 5?
- First off, delete your NMP cache.
- It’s in your home directory usually with a .npm extension
[14:09] What are the new features in V8?
- Unlimited heap sizes, previously had a 4gb limit. No fixed limit.
[14:09] Will you see things like chakra come out tuned for servers?
- Profiles of a server for application process are getting smaller
- Getting cut into containers and VMs and micro services
- Vms that have cold boot time and run quickly in a strained environment is looking more like what we will see in the future
- Yes, especially if you’re using cloud functions
- V8 is optimized for phones, but Chakra is even more so
- Looking for opportunities for VMs can be solely optimized for a device target
- Node take advantage of that VM
- VM neutrality is an interesting concept
- VM Vendors trying to optimize it based on workloads of a server
- Opens opportunities for Node
- Node Chakra has been proved to iOS. You can cut off jitting off which was a requirement to be able to be in the Apple App Store
- Node is not just for servers anymore
- Node doesn’t take a long time configuring it
- When a developer runs code on an IoT or a mobile app they don’t control the VM that is bundled, they run it on top of Node and it just works.
- VM neutrality gives a new vector, so you can swam a whole different VM
[18:44] When running different engines like iOS vs Android, does the profile change?
- What it comes down to is if it’s eventive programming
- The browser is an eventive environment, is very efficient waiting for things to happen before it does something
- The way that we program servers and nodes are the same as well
- the basics are the same generally
- environmental differences exist but the programming model is usually the same
- What does impact it is memory and processor and hardware and things like that
- That is where tuning the VM comes into play
[20:29] What is the new Async Hooks API used for?
- Node has been lacking for automated inspection of Async Hook
- No way for Node to tell you when scheduling and beginning of an Async operation. Hook helps with that
- it’s a way for developers to write debugging features
- Node tells the application that it’s working with Asynchronous way.
- The embedded inspector has been embedded since Node 6
- You can use things like Chrome debugger inside the running node process
- Old debugging protocol has been removed
- VM.run is still there but in the process of being deprecated
[22:34] How like is the experimental Node API will change?
- Marked as experimental because it’s the first time in the open
- Hopefully out of experimental soon
- Soon can port API to the existing LTS
- Looking for more people to participate with the new API and give feedback
- Fix any concerns before it goes to LTS
- Some other experimental things are in the works like ASync Hooks and how it interacts with promises
- Renaming some features
- Another new feature - serializer and deserializer that comes with V8
- experimental but will most likely stay
[25:31] what is your standard for going to LTS?
- Major releases every 6 months
- Next Oct Node 9 will come out and then Node 8 will be LTS
- Documentation, updates, additions etc will be ready then
- Plan to do it for 2.5 years
- Every even releases come out to LTS as the odd release comes out
- Helps keeps a current line while having something new in the release line
- Node 6 is the current LTS version
[27:26] What are you taking out or deprecating in Node 8?
- Use the word deprecate sparingly
- If many people use features, it’s hard to get rid of
- Security issue with Buffer, constructor argument was ambiguous
- Had added APIs that were more explicit over time and pushed those
- Now it will be deprecated
[28:43] 21% - 33% Performance increase with some Node updates
- Someone online updated their React app to Node 8 and found an 21% - 33% increase
- Benchmarking group tests to make sure things are getting faster
- V8 is always getting faster as well
- Code changes fast and so there is a chance performance slows down so they have people to check
- Benchmark test are all automated by a team
[30:47] Is it safe to just switch to Node 8?
- For front-end, yes
- clear your NPM cache
- Back use cases will usually wait until LTS
[31:28] Where any of the features hard to implement?
- The API work took about a year
- It was a collaboration which made it interesting
- IBM, Intel, Google were involved
- The collaboration took a while
- Also Async hooks took at least a year.
- Async hooks used to be called async wraps and has been in the work for almost 3 years
- many of the changes were the accumulation of small chances
[33:07] It’s the little things
- Letting people get small changes in accumulate into a big difference
- the product gets much better that way
[33:57] What versions of Node are you actively updating?
- Current releases of Node 8 for a half of year
- Node 6 is LTS
- Additional year of maintenance of previous LTSs.
- Schedule is at http://github.com/node8js/lts in a chart
- Support for Node 4 with only critical updates, Node 6 minor updates, and Node 8
- Node 7 doesn’t get much support unless it’s vital security supports.
- If you’re running 0.10 or 0.12 stop. Those do not get security fixes anymore
[35:42] Where do you see things going from here?
- Mostly still working out Async hooks
- Maybe add some web worker or worker support for Node JS
- ES module support
- Working to make promises better
- Working on the performance profile and internal systems
[20:29] What is the adoption like of Node 8?
- Node team gets better at getting people to adopt quickly
- but about 5% - 6% will not upgrade
- community doubles each year at 8 million users right now
- Here is a graph on Twitter posted by NPM
- Limiting breaks and softly deprecating things makes it’s easier to upgrade
[40:11] How can people contribute and get involved?
- NodeToDo.org shows how to make contribution
- Occasionally major conferences have information on how to contribute
- Test it out and help make it stronger
[42:08] If people install Node 8 and have issues what can they do?
- If it’s an NPM problem check with them
- clear cache!
- install newest version with:
npm install -g npm@latest
- Report problems to either NPM or Node
- If you’re not sure where the problem is, check github.com/nodejs/help
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