Super Interesting Tech, Feb 2022

Everyone should have a shortlist of things they’re interested in learning more about, and continually evolve it over time. Here’s some top items from mine.

There’s a bit of a ‘Cloudflare’ theme for me at the moment. That’s obviously being driven by the fact that my company is using Cloudflare, which makes all of their cool tech and features available to me, but there are some particularly interesting things going on, which are:

Cloudflare Workers

Workers are a layer of serverless infrastructure which can be placed over an arbitrary route on your domain. They scale up without hassle, support a bunch of languages and can exert full control over content served and manipulate it as you see fit.

In practical terms, that means a Worker can be a single layer over the top of a bunch of other disparate systems, can proxy in content from other locations and can manipulate the responses it serves on the fly, giving it an awful lot of power and usefulness whilst also being relatively easy to set up.

Cloudflare Edge Cache

What’s better than free bandwidth? Free bandwidth that is tied-in with auto-minification features. Of course, that only works if your assets actually are ending up in the cache as expected and you’re serving cache hits.

Needless to say it’s an interesting topic right now, and understanding the difference between Origin Servers, Edge Caches and Browser Caches is important and interesting.

[Cloudflare’s] Mirage & Rocket Loader

Mirage and Rocket Loader are two ‘Beta’ features offered by Cloudflare for Performance optimisation, and seem very much to be essentially out-of-the-box closed-source worker offerings — that is to say, things you could build yourself with Cloudflare Workers if you really wanted to, but why bother when you get them for free?

Both features are pretty neat to see in action and have exciting positive impacts on things like Lighthouse Performance scores, and are definitely a source for inspiration as to what we could do with Workers.

Node 16, NPM 8, NVM

I’ve been using yarn for its ‘workspaces’ feature for a couple of years now, but now Node 16 has caught up with its own native workspaces support. So now we’re all about workspaces and monorepos using NPM alone, and refactoring all of our old hacky setups to work neatly with the new features for managing dependencies and packages.