Type annotations proposal
As an aside, I’m interested to see what this would do to Facebook’s Flow, and whether adopting Typescript’s syntax will change the goals of the project. Would we see alternative type checkers, would Typescript completely take over, or will Flow fall to the wayside completely?
Today we also have web assembly (WASM), which — as a compilation target of a few compilers — allows completely unrelated languages to be compiled to a format that can be run in web browsers. This is often used for high performance code, such as processing images in a Web Worker thread or using cryptographic functions in-browser.
If WASM were to get access to the DOM, then maybe we’d see a slow change towards WASM for full-scale applications. It would have to come with better tooling for web projects in other languages, followed by the creation of new libraries (since the web is a completely different platform to anything else). All the while, Google is pushing browsers to expose more native APIs to web apps. Already on mobile you can install web apps for an experience close to native apps, including their inclusion on the home screen and abuse of push notifications.
- It would need to be adopted by the W3C
- It would need to be implemented in the major browsers
- It would need to be widely used by developers
Even if you ignored point 5, you would be left with a major hurdle: the fragmentation of the web. This is the issue that Google came up against when they announced their intention to include a Dart VM in Chrome. The only players large enough to propose and implement a new language for the web are the same ones that will be hit with criticism and antitrust claims, which makes it both a waste of time and money.
The nuclear option
This may be a goal of larger tech companies, such as Facebook’s split into Meta. While VR already has spaces to meet and play, like VRChat or standalone video games, Meta’s focus is on convincing businesses that it’s a good idea to do your work in digital spaces. These spaces, of course, would be the property of Meta — subject to
There are attempts at replacing web technologies at a smaller scale, founded on similar political ideals to the web. The Gemini project replaces HTTP and HTML with a format much closer to Markdown and plain text than anything more structured, removing scripting (and even images) in favour of an early-tech aesthetic built upon modern knowledge and technology. Protocols such as XMPP and Matrix have been trying to do what the web did but with messaging.