React is to Node
As SolidJS is to Deno
As Qwik is to Bun
The Incumbents, Early 2010s
First, there are the clear incumbents and frontrunners: React and Node. Facebook open-sourced React in 2013 and released “version 1.0” in 2016. Ryan Dahl built and launched Node in 2009 and released its “version 1.0” in 2015.
These two projects have the most usage, the largest communities, the most reference material, and enough legacy code to keep developers busy for decades. They are the safe bets that will have guaranteed production apps and jobs for at least the next decade.
The Challengers, Late 2010s
In contrast, we have the challengers: SolidJS and Deno. Both were initially released in 2018 and followed with actual version 1.0 releases in 2020 for Deno and 2021 for SolidJS. These projects have achieved notable gains over the previous paradigm including better UX due to performance wins and better DX due to better tooling.
The jury’s still out on whether developers will feel like these tools are 10 times better than React or Node. But either way, they are worth considering if you are hitting pain points with the incumbents.
SolidJS’s mental model shift away from the VDOM to fine grain reactivity can be seen as a kind of 10x improvement. Some developers find it fits with how their mind works and enjoy building within those constraints. This also holds true for Deno and the gains will also be somewhat subjective. Deno’s improvements over Node could be considered infinite for someone who refuses to write Node at all. Both SolidJS and Deno are becoming ready for serious production use and may offer the shortest path toward integration into your stack.
The Newcomers, Early 2020s
Finally, there are the newcomers: Qwik and Bun. These projects were released in 2021 and are still pre-version 1.0. While each is still early in its life cycle, they both are inventing brand new paradigms entirely from scratch that hope to offer exponential benefits over React and Node.
Will these inventions come with the cost of even more painful migrations and mental model shifts? It’s unclear what kind of traction they will attain, but if you genuinely care about the problems they are solving, they offer compelling advantages over their predecessors.