An Incorrect Specification

Lately I have seen history repeating itself in the software world. Bun hit the scene with a remarkable response from web developers praising the tool for fixing many long-standing issues with NodeJS. Many of these problems were discussed at length in the NodeJS community and development circles, but all reached their dead ends the same ways: we can't do this, it would break the spec; we can't do this, it would be wrong; we can't do this, it would be incompatible. Seemingly impossibly then, Bun has managed to solve many problems such as coexisting CommonJS and ECMAScript Modules that NodeJS claimed were not feasible.

Some History

These events are not dissimilar from the events of 2014 when the io.js project officially forked off of NodeJS in order to further the project's capabilities. io.js quickly became the favored solution by developers by having modern JavaScript features and solving many problems that came from developing with NodeJS. After many io.js releases, and lengthy discussion, the project was finally merged back into NodeJS and officially ended as of 2016. It shouldn't be understated the amount of turbulence and frustration that these events caused to web developers attempting to simply get work done. What was originally one promising new technology for JavaScript developers quickly became two, with the original seemingly having stalled while the newest among them rolled in new feature after feature. Luckily for NodeJS, io.js being a fork enabled the two to reconcile their differences and merge into a single project.

The Newcomer

Bun has quickly proven it is willing to make things work without excuses and, unfortunately for NodeJS, the project is entirely separate from NodeJS internally. With nearly full compatibility to NodeJS and NPM it is difficult to recommend a solution other than Bun currently. Offering a drop-in replacement that performs better and improves the developer experience in every meaningful way is a difficult thing to look past. It is no wonder that web developers have begun flocking to Bun. Whereas NodeJS typically conceded previously, Bun seems to be willing to make things work:


NodeJS may not be so lucky this time. As an entirely separate project not based on NodeJS, Bun has no future of being merged into NodeJS in order to save the project from itself once again. Instead, we will now finally see what would have happened if io.js had not rejoined its originator. Bun has tremendous momentum thanks to its compatibility, feature set, and performance. Unless NodeJS catches up and is willing to forego its penchant for technical correctness, it does not seem likely that it will stop Bun's path to dominance.