The JavaScript Runtime Showdown

David Peter

August 11, 2023






The JavaScript Runtime Showdown

The javascript runtime showdown.

Introduction: Understanding the Role of JavaScript Runtimes in Web Development

Once upon a time, JavaScript was just a scripting language used to add a little oomph to web pages. Fast forward to today, and it's evolved into a powerful tool for building complex web applications, thanks to the advent of JavaScript runtimes like Node.js, Deno, and Bun. 

What is a JavaScript Runtime? 

A JavaScript runtime is essentially an environment where JavaScript code can be executed. This environment provides the necessary machinery and resources for the code to run, interact with the system, and produce the desired results. 

Now, let's dive into the three JavaScript runtimes we're spotlighting today: Node.js, Deno, and Bun. 

Node.js: The Veteran 

Node.js took the tech world by storm when it burst onto the scene in 2009, and it's been a mainstay ever since. It's driven by Google's V8 JavaScript engine and is known for its event-driven, non-blocking I/O model, which makes it lightweight and efficient. 

With Node.js, you're not just limited to the client-side. You can also write server-side code, making JavaScript a full-stack language. 

Deno: The Maverick 

Deno is a relative newcomer, having been released in 2020. But don't let its youth fool you. This JavaScript runtime, created by the original developer of Node.js, offers some exciting features that set it apart. 

One of the most notable features is its focus on security. Unlike Node.js, Deno executes code in a secure sandbox environment by default, reducing the potential for malicious code execution. 

Bun: The Underdog 

Bun may not have the same name recognition as Node.js or Deno, but it's steadily gaining traction. It's a minimal, fast JavaScript runtime that's built for speed and ease of use. 

Bun boasts a modular architecture and a compact size, making it an excellent choice for developers looking to build lightweight applications without sacrificing performance.

NodeJS: The Veteran JavaScript Runtime that is Still Relevant Today

NodeJS, often touted as the granddaddy of JavaScript runtimes, has been a mainstay in the world of web development since its inception in 2009. Its enduring relevance in an ever-changing tech landscape is a testament to its reliability, flexibility, and robust ecosystem. 

Standing the Test of Time 

With over a decade under its belt, NodeJS has proven its mettle in the heat of digital evolution. It's not just surviving; it's thriving, supporting the intricate backends of countless web applications worldwide. 

The Power of a Robust Ecosystem 

Perhaps one of NodeJS's strongest selling points is its vast, vibrant ecosystem. With npm, the default package manager, developers have access to the largest package registry in the world. This makes NodeJS an exceptionally versatile tool for application development. 

Flexibility and Freedom: Choose Your Own Path 

With NodeJS, developers are given a high degree of freedom in how they structure their applications. This lack of strict architectural patterns can be a blessing or a curse, depending on the developer's skill level and personal preference. 

Asynchronous, Non-Blocking I/O: Efficiency at its Best 

NodeJS's non-blocking, event-driven architecture allows for efficient handling of concurrent operations. This means that while one operation is waiting for I/O, other operations can continue to execute, maximizing the application's throughput. 

Challenges and Limitations 

Despite its many strengths, NodeJS is not without its challenges. The same flexibility that can be a boon to some developers can also lead to messy, unstructured code if not managed well. Furthermore, NodeJS's single-threaded nature can be a bottleneck for CPU-intensive tasks.

Deno: The Lightweight, Secure, and Modern JavaScript Runtime

Unveiling the curtains, let's talk about Deno. It's like the fresh kid on the block, relatively young compared to NodeJS, but don't let its age fool you. Deno has already made quite a buzz in the JavaScript community. 

Let's delve into the reasons why. The very first one that pops into mind is security. Unlike NodeJS, Deno doesn't grant permissions to your scripts unless you explicitly tell it to. No more worrying about those pesky rogue scripts running amok in your system! 

The second standout feature is the built-in support for TypeScript. As it turns out, Deno was built with TypeScript in mind, which is quite a boon for developers who prefer statically typed languages. If you're a TypeScript fan, you'll feel right at home here. 

Now, here's the cherry on top - simplicity. Deno takes a departure from Node's complex module system, opting for a much simpler, web-friendly approach. It uses URLs to import libraries directly, just like in the browser. Say goodbye to the nightmare that is managing node_modules! 

However, let's not forget that Deno is still relatively young and growing. Its ecosystem is not as expansive as Node's, and some Node libraries might not work here. But for those willing to plunge into the new and exciting, Deno is a tantalizing option. 

Looking at Deno, it feels like a modern, more secure NodeJS. But remember, both have their strengths and weaknesses. Deno's emphasis on security, TypeScript, and simplicity make it a strong contender in the JavaScript runtime showdown.

Bun: A Newcomer to the JavaScript Runtime Scene with a Unique Approach

Meet Bun, the newest contender in the JavaScript runtime arena. Though a relative newcomer, it's making waves with its unique and unconventional approach. It's time for us to take a closer look at what sets this exciting new runtime apart from the pack. 

What is Bun? 

At its core, Bun is a minimal and fast JavaScript runtime. Drawing inspiration from NodeJS and Deno, it aims to offer the best of both worlds. Yet, it's not just a clone of its predecessors; Bun brings its own fresh perspective to the table. 

Key Features of Bun 

  • Performance: Bun is designed for speed. In many benchmark tests, it outperforms both NodeJS and Deno, making it an attractive option for performance-critical applications.
  • Simplicity: With a minimal API and an emphasis on doing one thing well, Bun is designed to be straightforward and easy to use.
  • Compatibility: Despite its differences, Bun strives to maintain compatibility with the broader JavaScript ecosystem, which includes npm packages and TypeScript.

How Does Bun Compare? 

While NodeJS is known for its maturity and rich ecosystem, and Deno for its security features, Bun is carving out its own niche with a focus on speed and simplicity.

This isn't to say that Bun is the clear winner in every scenario. Like any runtime, it has its trade-offs. But for developers prioritizing speed and simplicity, Bun presents an exciting option to consider.

Performance Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime is the Fastest?

When it comes to the speed of light, JavaScript runtimes are no different. They all race to be the quickest, the most efficient, serving your code in the blink of an eye. But who takes the crown in this lightning-fast showdown? Let's dive in. 


Often considered the 'OG' of JavaScript runtimes, NodeJS has been a trusted companion for many developers over the years. Its performance is reliable and consistently good, but perhaps not the fastest gun in the west. 


Then there's Deno, the shiny newcomer in town, built by the same creator of NodeJS. With a fresh start, Deno aims for better performance and tighter security. It's fast, yes, but still a youngster with a lot to prove. 


Bun, on the other hand, claims to be the 'fastest JavaScript runtime in existence'. With its lean structure and optimized performance, it seems to be not just talking the talk but walking the walk. 

Note: Performance can depend on numerous factors, including the specific task, the server's hardware, and the network condition.

Let's look at some benchmark data to see how these runtimes fare against one another: 

Http benchmarks are carried out daily against canaries on

HTTP performance of different NodeJS/Deno/Bun frameworks

Compatibility Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Offers the Best Compatibility?

Let's get down to the nuts and bolts of JavaScript runtimes, shall we? We're on a hunt to find out which one, between NodeJS, Deno, and Bun, offers the best compatibility. It's a showdown of the JS titans, and I must admit, the competition is stiffer than a starched shirt on a Monday morning. 

NodeJS - The Old Guard 

The reigning champ for quite some time, NodeJS boasts an impressive compatibility range. It supports ES6 and CommonJS modules, making it the go-to for many developers. Being around the block (and then some), NodeJS has an extensive package ecosystem in npm, which only sweetens the deal. 

Deno - The New Kid on the Block 

Enter Deno, the shiny new kid on the JavaScript block. It proudly supports ES modules and has a built-in package manager. But it's not just about the new tricks; Deno also offers backward compatibility, covering a lot of the ground NodeJS does. However, it doesn't support npm packages natively, which may be a bummer for some. 

Bun - The Compact Contender 

Rounding off our JS trilogy is Bun, the compact contender. While it's relatively new, Bun doesn't fall short on compatibility. It supports ES modules and has partial CommonJS support. Though it lacks a native package manager, it makes up for this with its quick start-up times and efficient bundling. 

| Runtime | ES6 Modules | CommonJS Modules | Package Manager | Backward Compatibility | |---------|-------------|------------------|-----------------|------------------------| | NodeJS | Yes | Yes | npm | Extensive | | Deno | Yes | Partial | Built-in | High | | Bun | Yes | Partial | No | Low |

In terms of compatibility, it's really a close call. But as the old adage goes, the right tool for the right job. So, choose your weapon carefully, comrades!

Security Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime is the Most Secure?

Let's delve into the intriguing world of security in JavaScript runtimes. How do NodeJS, Deno, and Bun stack up when it comes to providing a safe environment for your code to run? Who takes the cake when security is the name of the game? 

NodeJS: The Good Old Guard 

NodeJS, a long-standing choice for JavaScript runtime, uses a permissions model that gives access to network, file, and environment implicitly. This can be a boon for ease of use, but a potential point of vulnerability if your application is exposed to malicious code. 

Deno: Born with Security in Mind 

In the opposite corner, we have Deno, which adopts a security-first approach. It operates on a minimal trust basis, meaning no file, network, or environment access unless explicitly granted. This might result in a few more permission dialogs, but it's a small price to pay for an added layer of protection. 

Bun: The New Kid on the Block 

Then there's Bun, the latest entrant in this battlefield. While still in its early days, Bun promises a security model similar to Deno's. Its vision is to combine the best attributes of both NodeJS and Deno, resulting in a secure and user-friendly runtime. Only time will tell how it fares in practice. 

| Runtime | Security Approach | |---------|--------------------------------------------------| | NodeJS | Implicit permissions, potential vulnerabilities. | | Deno | Explicit permissions, added security. | | Bun | Model similar to Deno's, still in development. |

In conclusion, while NodeJS has served us well over the years, it's clear that the newer players are taking security more seriously. Both Deno and Bun offer promising models that prioritize security while aiming to maintain user-friendliness. As always, it's about finding the right balance for your specific needs.

Community Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Has the Best Community Support?

When it comes to community support, JavaScript runtimes can differ as starkly as night and day. It's like choosing between a cozy neighborhood café and a bustling city coffee shop — each has its unique lure. Let's take a closer look at where NodeJS, Deno, and Bun stand in terms of community backing. 

NodeJS: The Established Neighborhood 

NodeJS is like that old, comfortable café on the corner. Its community support is robust, with a wealth of forums, tutorials, and libraries at your disposal. It's a mature, well-established community that's akin to a living, breathing organism in the JavaScript ecosystem. 

Deno: The Urban Jungle 

On the flip side, Deno is like that trendy, urban coffee shop that's just opened up. It's new, it's exciting, and it's rapidly gaining momentum. Its community support, while not as vast as NodeJS, is vibrant and growing at an impressive rate, eager to challenge the status quo. 

Bun: The Quaint Outpost 

Consider Bun as that quaint, out-of-the-way espresso bar. It's smaller in comparison and relatively new to the scene, but it's steadily building community support. It's a little more niche, but don't let that fool you; Bun's community is dedicated and passionate. 

So, whether you prefer the familiarity of NodeJS, the vibrancy of Deno, or the dedication of Bun, you're in good hands. The JavaScript runtime you choose largely depends on your specific needs and the community vibe you feel most at home in.

Language Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Offers the Best Language Features?

Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of JavaScript runtime language features. It's time to compare NodeJS, Deno, and Bun head-to-head, to see which offers the most impressive language capabilities. Buckle up, folks—it's time for a showdown! 


NodeJS has been around the block a few times, and it's got the battle scars to prove it. With its extensive package ecosystem through npm, asynchronous I/O, and strong support for server-side programming, it's a tried-and-tested choice for many developers. 

  • npm: The Node package manager (npm) is a veritable treasure trove of JavaScript libraries and packages.
  • Asynchronous I/O: NodeJS uses event-driven, non-blocking I/O, allowing for efficient concurrency and a performance boost.
  • Server-side programming: NodeJS is great for building fast and scalable network applications.


As the new kid on the block, Deno is certainly turning heads. It offers secure default settings, TypeScript support, and a built-in package manager, making it a powerful contender in the JavaScript runtime ring. 

  • Secure by default: Deno prioritizes security, restricting network, file, and environment access by default.
  • TypeScript support: Deno provides first-class TypeScript support out-of-the-box, no transpilation required.
  • Built-in package manager: Deno eliminates the need for an external package manager like npm or Yarn.


Bun may be less known, but it's no less formidable. Its speed, minimalistic approach, and promise of zero dependencies make it an interesting option to explore. 

  • Fast: Bun is designed for speed, promising the fastest JavaScript runtime around.
  • Minimalistic: With Bun, you get exactly what you need and nothing more—no bloat, no excess.
  • Zero dependencies: Bun vows to be dependency-free, making for easy installation and use.

In conclusion, each JavaScript runtime has its own unique strengths and selling points. It's up to you to decide which one fits your project requirements and coding style the best. Happy coding!

Package Management Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Has the Best Package Management System?

Let's dive into what you're probably wondering - which JavaScript runtime has the best package management system? It's like trying to pick the best pizza topping - everyone has a favorite, but it's all about personal preference. So, let's compare NodeJS, Deno, and Bun's package management systems. 

NodeJS: npm 

NodeJS uses npm (Node Package Manager), which is a veteran in the game of package management. It's widely used, meaning it boasts a massive repository of packages. However, it's also been criticized for security concerns and bloated packages. 

Deno: Built-in Package Manager 

Deno, on the other hand, struts its stuff with a built-in package manager. It's a fresh take, aiming to address NodeJS npm's's shortcomings. It imports packages directly from URLs or file paths, which can feel more secure, but it also means it lacks a central repository. 

Bun: No Package Manager (Yet) 

Bun is the new kid on the block and currently doesn't have a dedicated package manager. However, it supports ES modules, which means it can use npm packages. It's a bit like borrowing a friend's video games - you get to play, but you don't own the games. 

JavaScript RuntimePackage Management SystemKey Feature
NodeJSnpmMassive repository of packages
ManagerDirect import from URLs or file paths + NPM
Package ManagerSupports ES modules

In conclusion, it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. The best package management system depends on your project's needs and your personal preference. It's like the pizza topping dilemma - there's no definitive answer, but there sure is plenty to taste!

Tooling Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Offers the Best Tooling Support?

Choosing a JavaScript runtime can often boil down to the tooling support each one provides. Let's dive into the tooling universe of Node.js, Deno, and Bun to see who comes out on top! 


NodeJS is like the granddaddy of JavaScript runtimes, with a mature and extensive ecosystem. The npm (node package manager) offers a plethora of libraries and tools, making it a strong choice for any project. 

  • Testing: Tools like Mocha, Jest, and Jasmine make testing in NodeJS a breeze.
  • Debugging: Node Inspector and Chrome DevTools are top-notch debugging aids.
  • Build tools: Webpack, Gulp, and Grunt are just a few examples of the myriad build tools available.


As the new kid on the block, Deno is designed to address some of NodeJS's shortcomings. Its tooling support, while not as extensive as NodeJS, has some unique benefits. 

  • Testing: Deno has built-in testing, no extra libraries needed.
  • Debugging: Deno supports Chrome's DevTools for debugging out of the box.
  • Package management: Deno skips the package manager, importing modules directly from URLs.


Bun is the least known among these three but has its own charm with a focus on minimalism and performance, providing some unique tooling advantages. 

  • Testing: Bun utilizes Jest for testing, providing a familiar framework for Node.js developers.
  • Debugging: Bun supports Chrome DevTools and offers a Bun-specific debugger.
  • Build tools: With Bun, there's no need for additional build tools. It's all built-in!

So, there you have it! Each runtime has its merits and unique tooling advantages. It's all about finding the one that best suits your project's needs.

Developer Experience Comparison: Which JavaScript Runtime Offers the Best Developer Experience?

Let's dive into the fascinating world of JavaScript runtimes and explore their varying impacts on developer experience. Our distinguished contenders in the arena are NodeJS, Deno, and Bun. But remember, in this showdown, the goal isn't to crown a champion, but to highlight the unique strengths and quirks that each one brings to the table. 

NodeJS: The Trailblazer 

When it comes to JavaScript runtimes, NodeJS is the seasoned veteran. It entered the scene when callbacks were king and has evolved with the JS ecosystem, now supporting the latest ES modules. Its vast npm registry is a treasure trove of modules and packages, offering tools for virtually any task imaginable. 

Deno: The Maverick 

Enter Deno, the brainchild of NodeJS creator Ryan Dahl. Born out of a desire to address Node's shortcomings, Deno places a strong emphasis on security, offering a sandboxed environment out of the box. It also supports TypeScript natively, which gives it a significant edge for developers who prefer static typing. 

Bun: The New Kid on the Block 

Bun might be the newest runtime in this lineup, but don't let that fool you. It's all about speed, boasting an impressive startup time that leaves even NodeJS and Deno in the dust. Plus, its built-in bundler means you can bid farewell to Webpack and Rollup. 

Final Thoughts 

Each runtime presents its own unique developer experience. NodeJS, with its mature ecosystem and vast library support, is often the go-to choice for many. Deno, with its focus on security and TypeScript support, aims to present a more modern runtime. Finally, Bun, with its speed and streamlining, offers a refreshing new perspective.

Ultimately, the best JavaScript runtime depends on the specific needs and preferences of the developer and the project at hand. So, grab your code editor, roll up your sleeves, and get coding! The best way to decide is to dive in and experience these runtimes for yourself.

The Future of JavaScript Runtimes: What Can We Expect?

As we traverse the dynamic landscapes of JavaScript runtimes, it's hard not to get excited about what the future holds. Evolutions in speed, scalability, and security are just the tip of the iceberg. Strap in, folks, we're about to hit warp speed into the future. 

NodeJS: The Time-Tested Titan 

NodeJS isn't going anywhere, folks. As the established leader in JavaScript runtimes, it's armed to the teeth with robust community support, a vast library of modules, and a reputation for reliability. 

  • Speed: Expect NodeJS to keep refining its engine, pushing the boundaries of speed and efficiency.
  • Scalability: As the digital sphere grows, NodeJS is poised to adapt and scale to meet the increasing demand.
  • Security: With cybersecurity threats on the rise, NodeJS is beefing up its protections to keep your applications safe.

Deno: The Bold Challenger 

Can you hear that? It's Deno, the ambitious newcomer, growling at the heels of NodeJS. With a focus on security and simplicity, Deno dreams of toppling the Titan. 

  • Speed: Deno is built on V8, the same engine as NodeJS. Expect this plucky underdog to develop its own speed prowess over time.
  • Scalability: Deno's modular architecture gives it a unique edge in scalability. Watch this space!
  • Security: Security is Deno's calling card. Expect this runtime to continue leading the pack in safeguarding your applications.

Bun: The Silent Mover 

And then there's Bun, the stealthy contender always working behind the scenes. It's small, it's silent, but boy, is it mighty. 

  • Speed: Bun's lightweight nature makes it a speed demon. Expect further improvements as it continues to streamline.
  • Scalability: Bun's minimalistic approach allows it to scale with ease, making it perfect for all types of applications.
  • Security: While still new on the scene, Bun is already showing promising signs towards enhancing security measures.

So, what can we expect from the future of JavaScript runtimes? It's a race of speed, scalability, and security. And friends, it's anyone's game. Let the best runtime win!

Conclusion: Choosing the Right JavaScript Runtime for Your Projects

Choosing the right JavaScript runtime for your projects is akin to selecting the perfect ingredients for a gourmet dish. It's no cakewalk, but once you get it right, the results are absolutely delectable. With Node.js, Deno, and Bun in the mix, let's delve into which might be the best fit for your needs. 

Node.js: The Veteran Choice 

Node.js, the oldest among the three, brings robustness and expansive libraries to the table. If you're working on a project that craves a tried-and-true solution, Node.js might be your MVP. 

Deno: The Next-Gen Contender 

On the other hand, Deno, the newcomer, has some exciting modern features. If you're looking to experiment with a cutting-edge runtime, Deno's security-first approach might pique your interest. 

Bun: The Speedy Dark Horse 

Bun, while lesser-known, is the speed demon in the lineup. If you're after a runtime that delivers blazing-fast performance, consider giving Bun a shot. 

In the end, the choice isn't about which runtime is the best, but rather, which one is the best for your specific use case. It's all about finding the perfect balance to create a harmonious symphony of code. 

Remember, each runtime has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and what works for one project may not work for another. So go ahead, stir up your coding pot and discover the wonderful world of JavaScript runtimes. Happy coding!

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