Version 16 of Node.js is now available

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The OpenJS Foundation has made Node.js 16 available. The new version features an update to the JavaScript engine, better support for Apple Silicon and new APIs.

The most important innovation in Node.js 16 is that the V8 JavaScript engine has been updated to version 9.0. In Node.js 15, this was still version 8.6. This updated engine brings ECMAScript RegExp Match Indices with it. This makes it possible to provide an index to the beginning and end of a captured string.

Another change is that the Timers Promises API has been promoted from an experimental to a stable status. This is a set of timer functions that return Promises objects. This eliminates the need to use util.promisify(). Furthermore, an experimental implementation of the Web Crypto API has been added, as has npm 7, version 8 of the Node API, a stable implementation of the AbortController, as well as Source Maps v3, and atob and btoa have been implemented for better compatibility with legacy web platform APIs.

Apple Silicon

Node.js 16 also comes with existing binaries for Apple Silicon. The company provides separate tar files for the Intel and ARM versions. However, the macOS installer in .pkg form includes support for both architectures. Linux users should note that Node.js 16 requires at least version 8.3 of the GNU Code Compiler.

Obsolete components

With a new version, some obsolete parts of Node.js are also shed. To check if existing software is experiencing problems from the update, the Node.js project uses a tool called Canary in the Goldmine (CITGM). This tool can be found on GitHub.

JavaScript runtime outside of web browsers

Node.js is an open-source runtime that makes it possible to execute JavaScript outside of web browsers. It is primarily used for command-line tools and server-side scripting. The developers of the project release a new version update every six months, although smaller updates occur more regularly.

Tip: New version of Node.js has new diagnostics features