Top 34 most popular JavaScript repositories at GitHub in March’19

Top 34 most popular JavaScript repositories at GitHub in March’19

Top 34 most popular JavaScript repositories at GitHub in March’19

Oh! There’s so much I’d like to share with you! Since the last digest I issued in February, web developers literally went crazy and brought to life so many amazing JS projects that I could hardly gather them all together. Today you will explore modular JavaScript file uploader, an audio library, Git History VSCode extension, JS Acceleration library, queue package, the utility for resizeable split views and many other cool open source JavaScript GitHub repositories worth your attention!

Here I am with the most interesting

Monthly most popular JavaScript repositories:

  1. Uppy is a modular JavaScript file uploader that integrates seamlessly with any application. 15,732 stars by now.
  2. Howler.js is an audio library for the modern web. It defaults to Web Audio API and falls back to HTML5 Audio to make working with audio in JavaScript easy and reliable across all platforms. 13,744 stars by now.
  3. Ink brings React for CLIs. Build and test your CLI output using components. Ink’s goal is to provide the same component-based UI building experience that React provides, but for command-line apps. 9,963 stars by now.
  4. GIt History is a VSCode extension that helps you to quickly browse the history of a file from any git repository. 9,811 stars by now.
  5. GPU.js is a JS Acceleration library for GPGPU (General purpose computing on GPUs) in JavaScript. GPU.js will automatically compile simple JavaScript functions into shader language and run them on the GPU. 8,458 stars by now.
  6. Fuse.js is a lightweight fuzzy-search, in JavaScript, with zero dependencies. 7,813 stars by now.
  7. Motrix is a full-featured download manager that supports downloading HTTP, FTP, BitTorrent, Magnet, Baidu Net Disk, etc. 5,684 stars by now.
  8. Buefy is a lightweight library of responsive UI components for Vue.js based on Bulma framework and design. 5,057 stars by now.
  9. Bull is a queue package for handling distributed jobs and messages in Node.js. 5,044 stars by now.
  10. Leon is an open-source personal assistant who can live on your server. 4,657 stars by now.
  11. x-spreadsheet is a web-based JavaScript spreadsheet. 4,512 stars by now.
  12. ora is a terminal spinner. 4,442 stars by now.
  13. Zero is a web framework for modern web development. It allows you to build your application without worrying about package management or routing. 3,948 stars by now.
  14. Split.js is a2kb unopinionated utility for resizeable split views (also called panes or frames). Split.js is CSS-driven, only using JS to recalculate CSS styles on drag. 3,773 stars by now.
  15. vue-appllo is a library that integrates Apollo in your Vue components with declarative queries. Compatible with Vue 1.0+ and 2.0+. 3,406stars by now.
  16. Dumper.js is a better and pretty variable inspector for your Node.js applications. 2,562 stars by now.
  17. Gridsome is a Vue-powered static site generator for building CDN-ready websites for any headless CMS, local files or APIs. My colleague made a review for this tool last week. 2,389 stars by now.
  18. Opentype.js is a JavaScript parser and writer for TrueType and OpenType fonts. It gives you access to the letterforms of text from the browser or Node.js. 2,325 stars by now.
  19. NLP.js is a library for building bots, with entity extraction, sentiment analysis, automatic language identify, and so more. 2,210 stars by now.
  20. AutoCannon is a HTTP/1.1 benchmarking tool written in Node, greatly inspired by wrk and wrk2, with support for HTTP pipelining and HTTPS. 2,208 stars by now.
  21. he (for ‘HTML entities’) is a robust HTML entity encoder/decoder written in JavaScript. It supports all standardized named character references as per HTML, handles ambiguous ampersands and other edge cases. 1,967 stars by now.
  22. ms is a tiny millisecond conversion utility. It works both in Node.js and in the browser. 1,944 stars by now.
  23. eleventy is a static site generator alternative to Jekyll. It transforms a directory of templates (of varying types) into HTML. 1,846 stars by now.
  24. Mercury Parser is a tool for extracting content. It allows you to easily create custom parsers using simple JavaScript and CSS selectors. 1,589stars by now.
  25. Qoa is a library with minimal interactive command-line prompts. It enables you to receive various types of user input through a set of intuitive, interactive and verbose command-line prompts. The library utilizes a simple and minimal usage syntax and contains 7 configurable console interfaces, such as plain text, confirmation and password/secret prompts as well as single keypress, quiz and multiple-choice navigable menus. 1,567 stars by now.
  26. Fast-cli is a test for your download and upload speed using fast.com. 1,532 stats by now.
  27. cherow is a lightweight, standards-compliant, self-hosted javascript parser with high focus on both performance and stability. 1,425 stars by now.
  28. @pika/pack is a set of plugins for npm package building. 1,392 stars by now.
  29. TypeIt is a versatile JavaScript typewriter effect utility. It has flexible configuration to type single or multiple strings that break lines, delete and replace each other, easily handle string containing HTML, loop, and a whole lot more. 1,310 stats by now.
  30. autoNumeric is a standalone library that provides live as-you-type formatting for international numbers and currencies. 1,046 stars by now.
  31. Marble.js is a functional reactive HTTP framework built on top of Node.js platform, TypeScript and RxJS. 990 stars by now.
  32. Notion is a hassle-free way to manage your JavaScript command-line tools. 721 stars by now.
  33. React-Calendar for picking days, months, years, or even decades for React apps. It supports range selection and any language. No moment.js needed 610 stars by now.
  34. FrenchKiss.js is a lightweight i18n library written in JavaScript, working both in the browser and NodeJS environments. It provides a simple and really fast solution for handling internationalization. 557stars by now.

Stay tuned! I hope these repositories will make a difference in your work!

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JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

Do you think JavaScript developers should be making more use of Web Workers to shift execution off of the main thread?

Originally published by David Gilbertson at https://medium.com

So, Web Workers. Those wonderful little critters that allow us to execute JavaScript off the main thread.

Also known as “no, you’re thinking of Service Workers”.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Before I get into the meat of the article, please sit for a lesson in how computers work:

Understood? Good.

For the red/green colourblind, let me explain. While a CPU is doing one thing, it can’t be doing another thing, which means you can’t sort a big array while a user scrolls the screen.

This is bad, if you have a big array and users with fingers.

Enter, Web Workers. These split open the atomic concept of a ‘CPU’ and allow us to think in terms of threads. We can use one thread to handle user-facing work like touch events and rendering the UI, and different threads to carry out all other work.

Check that out, the main thread is green the whole way through, ready to receive and respond to the gentle caress of a user.

You’re excited (I can tell), if we only have UI code on the main thread and all other code can go in a worker, things are going to be amazing (said the way Oprah would say it).

But cool your jets for just a moment, because websites are mostly about the UI — it’s why we have screens. And a lot of a user’s interactions with your site will be tapping on the screen, waiting for a response, reading, tapping, looking, reading, and so on.

So we can’t just say “here’s some JS that takes 20ms to run, chuck it on a thread”, we must think about where that execution time exists in the user’s world of tap, read, look, read, tap…

I like to boil this down to one specific question:

Is the user waiting anyway?

Imagine we have created some sort of git-repository-hosting website that shows all sorts of things about a repository. We have a cool feature called ‘issues’. A user can even click an ‘issues’ tab in our website to see a list of all issues relating to the repository. Groundbreaking!

When our users click this issues tab, the site is going to fetch the issue data, process it in some way — perhaps sort, or format dates, or work out which icon to show — then render the UI.

Inside the user’s computer, that’ll look exactly like this.

Look at that processing stage, locking up the main thread even though it has nothing to do with the UI! That’s terrible, in theory.

But think about what the human is actually doing at this point. They’re waiting for the common trio of network/process/render; just sittin’ around with less to do than the Bolivian Navy.

Because we care about our users, we show a loading indicator to let them know we’ve received their request and are working on it — putting the human in a ‘waiting’ state. Let’s add that to the diagram.

Now that we have a human in the picture, we can mix in a Web Worker and think about the impact it will have on their life:

Hmmm.

First thing to note is that we’re not doing anything in parallel. We need the data from the network before we process it, and we need to process the data before we can render the UI. The elapsed time doesn’t change.

(BTW, the time involved in moving data to a Web Worker and back is negligible: 1ms per 100 KB is a decent rule of thumb.)

So we can move work off the main thread and have a page that is responsive during that time, but to what end? If our user is sitting there looking at a spinner for 600ms, have we enriched their experience by having a responsive screen for the middle third?

No.

I’ve fudged these diagrams a little bit to make them the gorgeous specimens of graphic design that they are, but they’re not really to scale.

When responding to a user request, you’ll find that the network and DOM-manipulating part of any given task take much, much longer than the pure-JS data processing part.

I saw an article recently making the case that updating a Redux store was a good candidate for Web Workers because it’s not UI work (and non-UI work doesn’t belong on the main thread).

Chucking the data processing over to a worker thread sounds sensible, but the idea struck me as a little, umm, academic.

First, let’s split instances of ‘updating a store’ into two categories:

  1. Updating a store in response to a user interaction, then updating the UI in response to the data change
  2. Not that first one

If the first scenario, a user taps a button on the screen — perhaps to change the sort order of a list. The store updates, and this results in a re-rendering of the DOM (since that’s the point of a store).

Let me just delete one thing from the previous diagram:

In my experience, it is rare that the store-updating step goes beyond a few dozen milliseconds, and is generally followed by ten times that in DOM updating, layout, and paint. If I’ve got a site that’s taking longer than this, I’d be asking questions about why I have so much data in the browser and so much DOM, rather than on which thread I should do my processing.

So the question we’re faced with is the same one from above: the user tapped something on the screen, we’re going to work on that request for hopefully less than a second, why would we want to make the screen responsive during that time?

OK what about the second scenario, where a store update isn’t in response to a user interaction? Performing an auto-save, for example — there’s nothing more annoying than an app becoming unresponsive doing something you didn’t ask it to do.

Actually there’s heaps of things more annoying than that. Teens, for example.

Anyhoo, if you’re doing an auto-save and taking 100ms to process data client-side before sending it off to a server, then you should absolutely use a Web Worker.

In fact, any ‘background’ task that the user hasn’t asked for, or isn’t waiting for, is a good candidate for moving to a Web Worker.

The matter of value

Complexity is expensive, and implementing Web Workers ain’t cheap.

If you’re using a bundler — and you are — you’ll have a lot of reading to do, and probably npm packages to install. If you’ve got a create-react-app app, prepare to eject (and put aside two days twice a year to update 30 different packages when the next version of Babel/Redux/React/ESLint comes out).

Also, if you want to share anything fancier than plain data between a worker and the main thread you’ve got some more reading to do (comlink is your friend).

What I’m getting at is this: if the benefit is real, but minimal, then you’ve gotta ask if there’s something else you could spend a day or two on with a greater benefit to your users.

This thinking is true of everything, of course, but I’ve found that Web Workers have a particularly poor benefit-to-effort ratio.

Hey David, why you hate Web Workers so bad?

Good question.

This is a doweling jig:

I own a doweling jig. I love my doweling jig. If I need to drill a hole into the end of a piece of wood and ensure that it’s perfectly perpendicular to the surface, I use my doweling jig.

But I don’t use it to eat breakfast. For that I use a spoon.

Four years ago I was working on some fancy animations. They looked slick on a fast device, but janky on a slow one. So I wrote fireball-js, which executes a rudimentary performance benchmark on the user’s device and returns a score, allowing me to run my animations only on devices that would render them smoothly.

Where’s the best spot to run some CPU intensive code that the user didn’t request? On a different thread, of course. A Web Worker was the correct tool for the job.

Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find me writing a routing algorithm for a mapping application. This requires parsing a big fat GeoJSON map into a collection of nodes and edges, to be used when a user asks for directions. The processing isn’t in response to a user request and the user isn’t waiting on it. And so, a Web Worker is the correct tool for the job.

It was only when doing this that it dawned on me: in the intervening quartet of years, I have seen exactly zero other instances where Web Workers would have improved the user experience.

Contrast this with a recent resurgence in Web Worker wonderment, and combine that contrast with the fact that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, then concatenate that combined contrast with my contrarian character and you’ve got yourself a blog post telling you that maybe Web Workers are a teeny-tiny bit overhyped.

Thanks for reading

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Further reading

An Introduction to Web Workers

JavaScript Web Workers: A Beginner’s Guide

Using Web Workers to Real-time Processing

How to use Web Workers in Angular app

Using Web Workers with Angular CLI