Welcome to issue #13 of the browsertech digest.
Most browser-based IDEs work by running the development toolchain — compilers, packaging tools, etc., on a VM in the cloud. One exception to this is StackBlitz, which instead compiles a version of node.js into WebAssembly and runs the entire development toolchain client-side.
This week, StackBlitz launched WebContainers, which exposes their browser-based node.js runtime for others to build on. Although the runtime itself runs entirely in the browser, it is designed to be used in conjunction with a remote network proxy, which they provide (presumably needed fetch packages from npm, among other things).
At least for now, WebContainers is a proprietary offering. There are some hints that StackBlitz may be (or may have at one point been) considering open sourcing it. The git repo refers to a “WebContainer working group” and answers the question “is this open source?” with “Today, no […]” (emphasis mine).
Either way, it’s cool tech and another ambitious example of WebAssembly in production.
Last week, I mentioned Rerun.io in the context of applications that render directly to the GPU.
Rerun launched this week, with one of the coolest demo reels I’ve seen for any piece of software (and Runway set the bar high).
As part of the launch, Rerun went open source (dual-licensed MIT/Apache).
(Thanks Emil for the screenshot)
tldraw released a collaborative drawing app that puts everyone in the same room, and vertically scrolls the canvas gradually over time, which is a fun, chaotic dynamic.
tldraw has an extremely satisfying pen feel. Steve Ruiz has probably spent more time than anybody getting this right (working in public along the way), and it shows.
The multiplayer is powered by Sunil Pai’s upcoming Party Kit runtime, and it feels snappy.
“Wideboard uses WebGL 1, some special shaders, and some simple GPU-compatible data structures to render arbitrarily large amounts of monospace, unformatted text in a web browser.”
Welcome to the world of local-first web development.
Creepy-good hand tracking, entirely in the browser.
5.4M tweets visualized in WebGL by Nomic.ai.
Until next time,