JavaScript Studio publicly available

After a couple of month iterating on the JavaScript Studio private beta, it’s time for the next step. The cloud service for finding runtime errors in JavaScript is now generally available. Anyone can log in with their GitHub account and start using the free tier right away.

In this post, I would like to explain how the service was shaped and how some of the decisions where made that come with creating a new product.

Survey results

At the time when the original announcement was made, I was unsure which features would be most useful, so I made a survey. 56 people where kind enough to answer the questions. If you where one of them, thank you so much — you helped me a lot!

I was asked to publish the results of the survey, so let’s start with the question with the most surprising result:

How would you like to use JavaScript Studio?

My expectation was that GitHub pull request and npm hook integrations would receive the most votes. Talking to potential clients emphasized that they’d prefer to make on-demand calls from a developers workstation. This lead to a pivot and the focus was shifted to make the command line tool the main interface of the service. This also allows for easy CI integrations.

I’m happy to announce that @studio/cli v1.0 is now available as an open source project on GitHub.

Would you use one of these features?

I was expecting the automatic API documentation to be interesting since discoverability of APIs can be a pain point when learning a new code base. However, I completely dropped this feature for now. It might be added back in at a later time, but currently all development efforts go into the runtime error detection.

How do you feel about uploading PRIVATE project sources?

This made clear that offering the tool as a cloud service is an issue in corporate environments. To mitigate this, the CLI now encrypts all source code on your machine, the service decrypts it only in memory to run the analyzer and then all sources are immediately deleted. You have a personal encryption key that you can change at any time. We also spent a great deal of time (and money) to craft a good privacy policy that hopefully shows that the service is not about collecting your private data.

I was also asked to offer an On-Premises version of the tool. If you are interested in this, please get in touch.

Which language level do you use mostly?

The answers to this question were no surprise. However, the analyzer is still not able to work on ES 6 sources directly. This is going to be the #1 priority going forward. For now, you can use Babel to translate your sources into ES 5, as described in the documentation.

A common request during the private beta was to run JavaScript Studio directly on individual source files. This is going to come with an updated CLI once ES 6 support has landed.

Which environments do you write code for?

Interestingly, there is close to no difference between Node.js and Browsers here. The current state is that the service evaluates the code in a browser-like environment, because for Node.js support, ES6 is a precondition.

Which of the following tools do you use in your build process?

The documentation has dedicated pages for the three top build tools: Browserify, WebPack and Babel. I hope you will find it easy to configure a nice CI workflow with these tools and JavaScript Studio.

How about open source projects?

Allowing open source projects to use JavaScript Studio for free is still on the roadmap. As explained above, the priorities shifted from GitHub and npm integrations towards the CLI. Direct support for these platforms is a precondition to offer integrations for open source projects. This does not mean it’s not going to happen, it just takes a little longer. In the meantime you can make use of the free tier to find runtime errors in your open source projects.

Paid subscription plan

If you exceeded the credits in the free tier, you can subscribe to the “Developer” plan for $9.90 per month. If you want to support the project, please consider subscribing right away!

Get in touch!

If you didn’t try JavaScript Studio yet, check out the free tier! I’m very courious about your feeedback. If you have any questions, please leave a comment here, reach out on Twitter, Facebook, or send an email.

Thank you for reading!