Explained

Recently, I’ve passed a course on Coursera, which is called nand2tetris. The course itself is about building your own computer from the ground up. Though it will be better to quote the instructor himself, what the course is about:

The course guides students and self-learners through the construction of a modern, full-scale computer system – hardware and software – from the ground up. In the process, the students practice many major computer science (CS) abstractions studied in typical CS courses and make them concrete through 12 guided implementation projects.

And so, when I implemented the last module/project from the course, I got a Pong game, written in Jack language (your own language, implemented during the course).

Afterwards, the game is compiled through your own toolchain back into binary code and running on your own CPU. Both toolchain and CPU developed during the course.

Pong Game

If you are interested in the crash course for “How does computers work”, read the article.

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Have you ever been interested in how your code, written in high-level language like TypeScript, transforms into a different representation that a computer can understand, a CPU can understand?

I hope, when you will read this article, the picture of code execution pipeline will be more explicit. We will trace the journey of the code, starting from high-level language to low-level machine instructions. We are going to a deep rabbit hole…

DISCLAIMER: I will not dive into technical details of implementation, which differs from one vendor to another. We will go through a conceptual overview only. Otherwise, the article would take hours to read and months to write.

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WebAssembly is a replacement for JavaScript!
C++/Rust developers can now code front-end applications!
WebAssembly is faster than JavaScript!
WebAssembly! WebAssembly!

How many times do you hear these statements? Me, a lot. So I collect the most popular myths about WebAssembly and tell you the truth behind them.

Are you interested? Welcome!

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Recently, I faced an issue with requiring native bindings in JavaScript code, so I researched it. If you ever used commands, like require(‘my_module.node’) but don’t know how they work from JavaScript perspective — this article is for you.

What is .node files and why do we need them?

Sometimes, we are using npm packages that have native bindings for their purposes. Sometimes, we are building our own C++ code to extend the Node.js functionality for our own purposes. In both cases, we need to build an external native code to an object that can be usable by Node.js.

And that’s what .node files are for. .node files are dynamically shared objects that Node.js can load to its environment. Making an analogy here, I would say that .node files are very similar to .dll or .so files.

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In my previous article, I was talking about Node.js and why it’s fast. Today, I want to talk about V8.

I suppose some of you heard that JavaScript executes as fast as C++. Some of you don’t understand how it’s even possible. JavaScript is a dynamically typed language with Just in Time (JIT) compilation, when C++ is static-typed language with Ahead of Time (AoT) compilation. And somehow, optimised JavaScript code executes a little slower than C++ or even with the same speed.

To understand why that is, you need to know some basics of V8 implementation. It’s a huge topic, so I will only explain key features of V8 in this post. If you want more details, such as hidden classes, SSA, IC,… they will be in my next article.

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Here I am again with an article about Node.js! Today I want to speak about another Node.js advantage — execution speed. What do I mean by “execution speed”?

It can be anything ranging from calculating Fibonacci sequence to querying database.

When talking about web-services, execution speed comprises everything that is needed to process requests and send the response to the client. That’s what I mean — time spent on processing request, starting from opening connection to client receiving the response.

As soon as you understand what’s going on in Node.js server when it processes the requests, you will realise why it is so fast.

But before talking about Node.js, let’s look at how request handling is done in other languages. PHP is the best example because it is popular and unoptimised.

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