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.
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.
“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,