The team behind Node.js has announced the release of Node.js 21. Node.js is a JavaScript runtime that is built on the JavaScript engine that Chrome uses, V8. 

One of the main updates in this release is that the V8 engine was updated to version 11.8. 

“Updating the V8 engine offers crucial benefits: bug fixes enhance stability, performance improvements boost speed, and new features expand capabilities. It ensures a more reliable, faster, and feature-rich JavaScript runtime environment,” explained Rafael Gonzaga, Node.js Core Member. 

There were also a few updates to test runner, which is a feature that enables functional testing and exporting of results. Updates include support for passing globs and a new cli flag that controls parallelism. 

Another update is that WebStreams is now stable. WebStreams help process data in small sizes for browser applications, the team explained.

The team also added a new experimental flag that flips module defaults. According to Gonzaga, Node.js currently has two module systems: CommonJS and ECMAScript. Currently it treats files with a .js file extension as CommonJS by default, but now this can be flipped. 

“Our goal is to eventually find a way to support ES module syntax by default with minimal breaking changes,” Gonzaga said. 

There were also several performance improvements in file system, stream, and HTTP field. 

A full list of changes can be found here.