Node.js 8 Includes npm 5
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 02 June 2017

The latest version of Node.js has been shipped with a new npm client, support for future versions of the JavaScript runtime, and an experimental Node.js API..

Node.js is an asynchronous event driven JavaScript runtime built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. The new release has a number of improvements and additions, and comes with version 5.0 of the npm package client. 

One important point about the new release is which JavaScript runtime it ships with. Node.js 8.0.0 ships with V8 5.8. While this is a major update to the JavaScript runtime, more important for the longer future is the fact that it is guaranteed to have forwards ABI compatibility with V8 5.9 and the upcoming V8 6.0.

The reason this is necessary is that V8 5.9 of the JIT compiler is  scheduled for release in early June. If the current compiler didn't have ABI compatibility, Node.js 8 would be almost instantly out of date regarding its runtime. The need to have long term compatibility was behind the delay in shipping Node.js 8. 

The new virtual machine agnostic Application Binary Interface (ABI), means native addons will work not only against multiple versions of the V8 JavaScript runtime, but Microsoft's Chakra-Core runtime as well. The N-API is experimental in this release, so the developers say that significant changes in the implementation and API should be expected.

The new experimental Node.js API (N-API) means that developers who use or create native addons will be able to compile their native addons once on a system then use them across multiple versions of Node.js.

The previously experimental WHATWG URL parser API has moved to be fully supported and non-experimental.

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The new URL implementation matches the URL implementation and API available in modern Web Browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari, allowing code using URLs to be shared across environments.

The Async_wrap module has been upgraded and renamed as async hooks. The API provides diagnostics that you can use to monitor the operation of the Node.js event loop, tracking asynchronous requests and handles through their complete lifecycle.

Other elements to be updated include the Buffer API, which has new construction methods, and better handling of the Buffer(num) constructor. There's improved support for Promises, and the start of support for static error codes.

The Stream API has been improved, and there's an experimental inspector JavaScript API.

 

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More Information

Node.js blog 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 02 June 2017 )