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Node.js 22 has arrived! The eagerly awaited version 22.0.0 (Current), has arrived on April 24th, bringing a wave of improvements designed to empower developers working with JavaScript on the server-side. This release focuses on three key areas: streamlining development workflows, boosting performance, and introducing features that cater to the evolving landscape of modern web applications.

Effortless WebSocket Connections and Beyond

One of the most exciting additions in Node.js 22 is the built-in WebSocket client. This eliminates the need for third-party libraries, a common pain point for developers. With this native functionality, establishing WebSocket connections within your Node.js applications becomes straightforward. WebSockets are a powerful tool for real-time communication, and Node.js 22 empowers developers to leverage them seamlessly for interactive features and data synchronization.

Experimental ESM Support for Modern Modularity

Node.js 22 takes a step forward in the world of modular JavaScript by introducing experimental support for requiring ECMAScript Modules (ESM) graphs. This opens doors for developers who want to leverage both CommonJS (CJS) and ESM modules within their projects. This flexibility is particularly valuable for greenfield projects or those undergoing modernization, allowing developers to choose the module system that best suits their needs and project structure.

Stable Reloading and Performance Optimizations

The node –watch mode graduates from experimental to a stable feature in Node.js 22. This mode is a lifesaver during development, as it automatically reloads the server whenever changes are detected in specified files or paths. This significantly reduces development cycles and streamlines the debugging process.

Node.js 22 also incorporates increased default highwater marks for streams. This translates to a noticeable performance boost across various use cases, particularly for applications that handle large amounts of data. While memory usage might increase slightly, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for most applications. Users working in memory-constrained environments should monitor the impact and adjust settings as needed.

Under the Hood: A Look Deeper

While the built-in WebSocket client and experimental ESM support are major highlights, Node.js 22 boasts a wealth of enhancements beneath the surface:

  • V8 Engine Upgrade: Node.js 22 leverages the latest advancements in the V8 JavaScript engine (version 12.4). This translates to features like WebAssembly Garbage Collection, improved Array.fromAsync functionality, and enhanced set methods and iterator helpers for developers.
  • Maglev in Action: V8’s Maglev compiler, known for optimizing performance in short-lived CLI programs, is now enabled by default on supported architectures.
  • Simplified Script Execution: Node.js 22 introduces an experimental feature for executing scripts directly from package.json using the node –run <script-in-package-json> command. This streamlines development workflows by eliminating the need for separate scripts or complex configurations.
  • Previously Experimental Features Find Stability: This release marks the graduation of several valuable features from experimental to stable status. This includes the node –watch mode and the browser-compatible WebSocket implementation, now enabled by default.

Looking Ahead

Node.js 22 marks a significant step forward for developers building web applications with JavaScript. The focus on developer experience, performance improvements, and modern JavaScript support empowers developers to create robust and scalable applications with greater efficiency. With features like the built-in WebSocket client and experimental ESM support, Node.js 22 paves the way for a more streamlined and future-proof development experience.

LTS on the Horizon

Node.js 22 will enter long-term support (LTS) in October 2024. This LTS designation ensures critical bug fixes and security patches for a period of 30 months, making it a stable and reliable choice for production applications. Until then, it will be the “Current” release line for the next six months.

To download Node.js 22 visit nodejs.org/download/current 

For more information and detailed release notes, please refer to the official release post at nodejs.org/blog/release/v22.0.0