Node.js and Deno are two backend, runtime environments for JavaScript. Both have them have taken slightly different approach for compliance to Web Standards. This can have far reaching impact on the ecosystem in terms of scalability, competition and innovation. Node.js is extremely popular at the moment, but my hope is that Deno or another Web Standards compliant runtime will come to the forefront.

What are Web Standards?

Web standards are a set of guidelines and specifications established by organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). These standards define how web technologies should be implemented, ensuring consistency, interoperability, and accessibility across different platforms and devices. Web standards cover various aspects of web development, including markup languages, programming interfaces, protocols, and accessibility guidelines.

Some key web standards include:

Why are Web Standards Important?

Web standards are important for ensuring cross-browser compatibility, accessibility, and long-term sustainability of web applications. They enable developers to create websites and web applications that work consistently across different platforms and devices, and they provide a foundation for the evolution and innovation of the web. Compliance with web standards is encouraged to improve user experience, increase accessibility, and promote a healthy web ecosystem. Web standards are important for several reasons:

Interoperability: Web standards ensure that web technologies and content can work consistently across different browsers, devices, and platforms. They define a common set of rules and specifications that developers can rely on, reducing compatibility issues and enabling a more seamless browsing experience for users.

Consistency: Web standards promote consistency in the design, behavior, and functionality of websites and web applications. They provide guidelines for structuring content, styling elements, and handling interactions, allowing users to navigate and interact with websites in a familiar and predictable way.

Accessibility: Web standards include guidelines for making web content accessible to people with disabilities. By adhering to accessibility standards, developers can create websites and applications that are usable by individuals with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairments. This helps promote inclusivity and equal access to information and services on the web.

Future-Proofing: Web standards evolve over time to adapt to new technologies, advancements, and user needs. By following web standards, developers can future-proof their projects, ensuring that their websites and applications will remain compatible and functional as new browsers, devices, and technologies emerge.

Innovation and Collaboration: Web standards foster innovation by providing a common framework and platform for developers, designers, and organizations to collaborate and share ideas. They enable the development of reusable components, libraries, and frameworks that enhance productivity and encourage the growth of a vibrant web ecosystem.

Security: Web standards include security best practices and protocols that help protect users’ data and privacy. By following these standards, developers can ensure that their websites and applications implement robust security measures, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and unauthorized access.

Accessibility to Information: Web standards enable the creation of search engine-friendly websites and structured content, making it easier for search engines to index and discover information. This enhances the discoverability and accessibility of online content, allowing users to find and access the information they need more efficiently.

The standards can lead to:

Node.js and Web Standards

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript code on the server-side. While Node.js enables JavaScript to be used beyond the confines of web browsers, it is not specifically designed to comply with web standards.

The reason Node.js is not compliant with web standards is because it operates outside the context of web browsers. Web standards, such as HTML, CSS, and the Document Object Model (DOM), are primarily focused on the presentation and manipulation of web content within a browser environment. They define how web pages should be structured, styled, and interacted with.

Node.js, on the other hand, provides a runtime environment for executing JavaScript code on servers. It allows developers to build server-side applications, network services, and command-line tools using JavaScript. While Node.js shares the JavaScript language with web browsers, it does not implement the browser-specific APIs and capabilities defined by web standards.

However, it’s worth noting that Node.js has its own set of APIs and modules that facilitate server-side programming, file system operations, network communication, and more. These APIs are designed to work in the server environment and provide features not available in the web browser context.

That being said, Node.js can still be used alongside web standards-compliant technologies to create full-stack applications. For example, developers can use Node.js on the server-side to handle data processing, business logic, and API endpoints, while using web standards-compliant front-end frameworks or libraries on the client-side to render and interact with web content in the browser.

Deno and Web Standards

Deno is a modern JavaScript runtime similar to Node.js but with some key differences. One of those differences is that Deno is designed with web standards compliance in mind. Here are a few reasons why Deno can be considered compliant with web standards:

One of the areas where Deno deviates from Web Standards is the support for TypeScript. TypeScript is not part of Web Standards and providing default support can make Deno libraries deviate from Browser technology.

Overall, Deno’s design principles and features aim to align with web standards and provide a runtime environment that is secure, modular, and compatible with the web platform. By adopting these standards, Deno offers developers a familiar and consistent experience when working with JavaScript and TypeScript, both on the server-side and in web browser environments.