I've been looking at PubNub as a potential alternative to Firebase for push notifications. At a high level, PubNub is pubsub-as-a-service: once you plug in PubNub's JavaScript library, you can start publishing messages and subscribing to channels without having to deploy Kafka, ZeroMQ, etc.

pkg is Zeit's (the company behind Next.js) new tool for bundling Node.js projects into standalone binary executables. A standalone executable has numerous advantages: as long as you're on a compatible OS, you can run the executable without installing Node.js, docker, or any other runtime. You can ship your executable to a vanilla EC2 instance and run it without any extra setup, no need to maintain AMIs or use Packer. You can also cross-compile with pkg, so you can build an OSX-compatible executable on your Linux box and vice-versa. In other words, pkg gives you the best parts of Golang in Node.js.

Next.js is a powerful framework for building server-side rendered applications. Next.js is just a wrapper around React, but it abstracts away all the ugly bits of React: build systems, transpilation, routing, CSS, etc. Most importantly, it makes server-side rendering with React dead simple, no need to carefully structure your code for use with preact-render-to-string or figure out the lastChild pattern for replacing the server-side rendered component with the client-side rendered component. In this article, I'll show you how to build a basic Next.js app with server-side rendering on top of an Express and MongoDB API.

Async/await makes it easy to integrate asynchronous behavior with imperative constructs like for loops, if statements, and try/catch blocks. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the same for functional constructs like forEach, map, reduce, and filter. Using these constructs with async functions leads to behavior that can seem downright baffling. In this article, I'll show you some common gotchas for async functions with JavaScript's built-in functional array methods and how to work around them.

Firebase is a great tool for getting data from a server to a client. Firebase handles caching, retries, socket management, and all the other unpleasant details of getting data to a client with spotty internet connection. In particular, Firebase is excellent for mobile web and mobile apps. In this article, I'll walk you through using Firebase with Preact, a lightweight React alternative, to build a simple app with server-side rendering.

Node.js 6.6.0 added a sporadically useful bug/feature: logging unhandled promise rejections to the console by default. In other words, the below script will print an error to the console:

By virtue of the event loop, scheduling tasks in Node.js is relatively straightforward. Plain old setTimeout() and setInterval() are sufficient for many basic use cases where you would normally use cron. However, things get more interesting when you need durable transactional scheduling, for use cases like:

I find the existence of tools like nvm baffling. I could understand if setting up Node.js required an actual installer or compiler or python, but node has pre-built binaries for most operating systems. Node and npm are both portable standalone executables, so all you need is the right binary for your OS in the right place on your file system. Especially if you're switching back and forth between Node 6.x and 7.6.0 for async/await, you should simplify your node version management workflow rather than using yet another bloated tool.