Wondering how well Deno ( deno.land/ ), a "secure" Node, would work as a game platform for home users.

Is this the new 8-bit BASIC?

h/t @teleclimber for bringing Deno to my atttention

@natecull @teleclimber gamewise i don’t see anything here you couldn’t do in a browser. but with deno you’d have to a do a bunch of extra setup. deno is very much about correcting the mistakes ryan dhal thinks he made with node, and thus it’s squarely in node’s original usecase: small realtime server. though i see it’s got an api that shows it could do electron’s job.

@natecull @teleclimber it seems there’s an enormous gap in communication and education, meaning most developers haven’t the slightest clue just how much amazing stuff is possible with just a plain browser without needing to add a framework on top.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

It might be because "just plain browser" got a very bad name back in the IE vs Firefox wars, and so everyone ran for the shelter of frameworks as protection against all the unimplemented and half-/buggily-implemented browser stuff? And now that "framework first" mentality has stuck?

@natecull @teleclimber yeah basically. all the problems the frameworks were built to solve aren’t actually a problem anymore, but now we already have all this stuff built in the frameworks.

@natecull @teleclimber but if you went looking for a simple primer, for beginners, on how to do a hello world in plain javascript, they basically don’t exist.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

I admit that when I looked at Node, about two years ago, I found enough weird and dangerous things in its vanilla Javascript that I ran screaming for at least Ramda. (Lodash probably does what Ramda does, now).

I can't imagine using out-of-the-box Javascript even in 2020 without at *least* a utility library. So much really vitally important stuff Just. Isn't. There. in the core language. And what is there, often has really nasty side effects.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

actually what actually happened was I started making up my OWN utility library to make Javascript safe and sane. Then found that Ramda / Lodash etc had already done that.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

just utterly insane things like, there's no builtin functions (or at least not sensibly named, easy to find ones) to test whether an object is an array, is Null or not, fallbacks for Null handling, vanilla 'sort' is DESTRUCTIVE, yeeeeagh. Things that, if you're doing database-query type stuff, you just don't want anywhere near your code.

@natecull @teleclimber that stuff has all been fixed. just for some reason nobody gets the memos for these things.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

It *hasn't* been fixed. Or rather, the dangerous, unsafe stuff is still there right alongside the correct stuff.

So, much better to never trust the builtins, just indirect everything through a different namespace. Otherwise for every single method call you have to go 'is this one of the good ones? or the evil ones?' and you'll occasionally get it wrong.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

I would *love* it if there was an 'ultra strict mode' that just REMOVED all the old and evil and wrong methods. There's probably a library to do that, but... well, just using a library seems the easiest way.

@natecull @teleclimber it’s called ESLint. it’s not built in or anything. but again, yes this is the problem. there’s simple solutions to all these things but if you are a beginner and you go looking, you will be frustrated and go half mad.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Basically you need an "index of forbidden methods".

Eg: never ever ever use charAt() always use charCodeAt(). Because charAt() doesn't do proper Unicode. but it's still there. Etc.

@natecull @teleclimber in point of fact, despite my advocacy, I reccomend processing / p5.js to beginners who just want to dink around with a modern basic/logo equivalent.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Oh yeah! I heartily recommend p5.js. I discovered it a few weeks back, and love it.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Is there something similar for just 'I want to print a bunch of text'?

I presume it would be just a very tiny library, maybe five lines.... but is there one? An ultra minimal 'bootstrap the equivalent of BASIC text mode in the browser'?

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Like you immediately get crippled by 'because of security, there's no equivalent for 'Insert tape, read/write data file'.... which is the sort of thing that started me off on my whole rant earlier about browsers locking down the filesystem.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

The browser has become our VDU.... but in 2020, the browser still can't give us the equivalent of a CP/M machine with safe, local disk storage. In fact all that's being taken away from us.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

I can (and am looking at right now) run an entire emulated BBC Model B Computer running a BASIC adventure game in the browser... except there's no way of saving the game because, shrug, browsers aren't allowed to write to the local filesystem. Even just to one designated file selected manually by an out-of-browser 'file open' dialog box.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

... or DO we have this capability, finally? Do we have a File Open box now?????

@natecull @teleclimber we do, it’s been there for years. i don’t know where you’re getting your information that it doesn’t exist. there certainly are limitations, but you kinda want them.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

I guess I'm getting my information from nobody ever using it! Like, for instance, Tiddlywiki writing a whole baroque EXE plus plugin system to implement saving!

So it's there and it works? Cross browsers? And we can save files in it? And remember the file name across browser invocations?

@natecull @teleclimber well, if you want to go onto your file system and see a persistent file there, then no. but there’s nothing stopping you from using the data persistence apis together with the blob apis to save a file in the browser storage and download it on demand.

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Problem is I don't trust the browser storage to not get deleted.... I just want to load and save normal files! Without that, I still can't really use a browser as a comletely *local* application engine, can I?

(Is that the use case for stuff like Electron?)

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

like I wouldn't mind if, eg, I had to manually associate any given URL with a local folder, and then it couldn't ever access anything outside that folder (unless I manually accessed the file navigation UI, which the browser wouldn't be able to fake). I think I could cope with that level of manual intervention and I think that would give enough security maybe?

@zensaiyuki @teleclimber

Omg yay! That's exactly what I want. Then I could write local apps, as HTML pages plus Javascript, that never needed to touch the Internet, and can still do stuff locally.

@natecull @teleclimber you can also create little node servers that do the writing to the local filesystem part. electron is popular but in the end it’s just chrome packaged together with a local node server with a versioned api for how everything integrates.

@natecull @teleclimber see i am a bit of a radical and i think fundamentally filesystems are a bad idea and if we can avoid ever using them we should. the main reason we are still kinda forced into using them is it’s the only non limited way we have of sharing information between systems, so if someone forward thinking like apple stops us from having a “real” file system it can feel like handcuffs when we want to get data in or out.


@natecull @teleclimber of course apple caved, and as a result i now need to choose from like 8 different ways to handle images i want to download, when in the good old days the image would just go to my photo roll and that would be it.

sure it sucked when i got a link to a zip file and there’s still no good way of dealing with those on iOS, but i’d prefer it if we were thinking up nicer solutions instead of just rebuilding 1980s ideas.

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