The Future of JavaScript: What to Expect in Upcoming Releases

JavaScript has been the cornerstone of web development for years, and as web technologies evolve, so does JavaScript. The language has seen numerous updates and enhancements over the years, shaping it into the versatile and powerful tool it is today. In this blog post, we'll discuss what the future holds for JavaScript, including upcoming releases and features that are expected to make their way into the language. As we explore these changes, we'll also provide code examples and explanations to help beginners and experienced developers alike understand the potential of these new additions. So, let's dive into the exciting world of JavaScript and see what the future has in store!

ECMAScript and JavaScript: A Quick Refresher

Before we discuss upcoming features, let's briefly recap the relationship between ECMAScript and JavaScript. ECMAScript is the standard that defines the scripting language, while JavaScript is the most popular implementation of that standard. When we talk about new features in JavaScript, we're typically referring to features that are being added to the ECMAScript standard.

The organization responsible for maintaining and updating the ECMAScript standard is the ECMA International Technical Committee 39 (TC39). This committee has a well-defined process for introducing, evaluating, and incorporating new features into the ECMAScript standard.

The TC39 Proposal Process

The TC39 proposal process has four stages, numbered 0 through 4. Each stage represents a different level of maturity for a proposed feature:

  1. Stage 0 – Strawperson: This stage is for the initial submission of an idea or proposal. It's meant to spark discussion and gauge interest in the feature.
  2. Stage 1 – Proposal: At this stage, the idea is formally documented, and a "champion" within the TC39 committee is identified to help guide the proposal through the process.
  3. Stage 2 – Draft: The feature's specification is drafted in detail, outlining its syntax, semantics, and required algorithms. It's also at this stage that initial implementations can be experimented with.
  4. Stage 3 – Candidate: The proposal is reviewed, and any remaining issues are addressed. Implementations in major JavaScript engines are required at this stage.
  5. Stage 4 – Finished: The feature is considered complete and ready for inclusion in the next ECMAScript release.

With this process in mind, let's take a look at some upcoming features and their current stages.

Top-level await

Stage: 4

The await keyword is used to pause asynchronous functions while waiting for a promise to resolve. Currently, it can only be used within an async function. However, the top-level await proposal aims to allow the await keyword to be used at the top level of a module, enabling more convenient usage patterns for asynchronous code.

// Before top-level await (async () => { const data = await fetchData(); console.log(data); })(); // With top-level await const data = await fetchData(); console.log(data);

This feature is especially useful for dynamic import() statements, where you might want to load a module asynchronously before using its exported functions or objects.

// With top-level await const myModule = await import('./myModule.js'); const result = myModule.someFunction();

Pipeline Operator

Stage: 2

The pipeline operator (|>) aims to improve the readability of code involving multiple function calls by allowing a more functional-style syntax. It works by taking the result of an expression and passing it as an argument to the next function.

// Without pipeline operator const result = Math.round(Math.sqrt(Math.abs(-16))); // With pipeline operator const result = -16 |> Math.abs |> Math.sqrt |> Math.round;

This operator is particularly helpful when working with data transformations, as it allows you to chain together a sequence of functions more clearly and concisely.

const data = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; const doubledAndFiltered = data |> (_ => => x * 2)) |> (_ => _.filter(x => x % 3 !== 0)); console.log(doubledAndFiltered); // [4, 8, 10]

The pipeline operator is still in Stage 2, which means it's not yet available in JavaScript engines by default. However, you can experiment with it using transpilers like Babel.

Records and Tuples

Stage: 2

Records and tuples are a proposal for adding immutable data structures to JavaScript. Records are similar to objects, and tuples are similar to arrays, but with the key difference being that both records and tuples are immutable.

const myRecord = #{ name: "Alice", age: 30, }; const myTuple = #[1, 2, 3];

Attempting to modify a record or tuple will result in a new record or tuple being created, rather than modifying the original.

const updatedRecord = myRecord.with({ age: 31 }); console.log(updatedRecord); // #{ name: "Alice", age: 31 } console.log(myRecord); // #{ name: "Alice", age: 30 } (unchanged) const updatedTuple = myTuple.with(1, 4); console.log(updatedTuple); // #[1, 4, 3] console.log(myTuple); // #[1, 2, 3] (unchanged)

Records and tuples can provide performance benefits in specific scenarios and can help enforce immutability in your codebase. Since they are in Stage 2, they are not yet available in JavaScript engines, but you can try them out using Babel.


Stage: 2

Decorators are a proposed feature that allows you to modify or augment the behavior of classes, methods, properties, or parameters using a concise, declarative syntax. They are commonly used in other programming languages, like Python and TypeScript.

function log(target, name, descriptor) { const originalMethod = descriptor.value; descriptor.value = function (...args) { console.log(`Calling ${name} with arguments:`, args); return originalMethod.apply(this, args); }; return descriptor; } class MyClass { @log myMethod(arg1, arg2) { // ... } } const myInstance = new MyClass(); myInstance.myMethod(1, 2); // Logs: "Calling myMethod with arguments: [1, 2]"

In this example, the @log decorator is applied to the myMethod method of MyClass. When myMethod is called, the decorator logs the method name and arguments before calling the original method.

Decorators are still in Stage 2, but they are widely used in TypeScript, and you can experiment with them in JavaScript using Babel.


As we've seen, the future of JavaScript is filled with exciting new features that promise to make the language even more powerful and expressive. With proposals like top-level await, the pipeline operator, records and tuples, and decorators in the pipeline, JavaScript developers have a lot to look forward to. Keep an eye on the TC39 proposal process to stay up-to-date on the progress of these features and to learn about other proposals that might change the way we write JavaScript.

Remember, manyof these features can be tried out today using tools like Babel, even if they're not yet available in JavaScript engines by default. This can be an excellent way to familiarize yourself with upcoming changes and provide valuable feedback to the TC39 committee during the proposal process.

In addition to the features we've discussed, there are many other proposals at various stages of the TC39 process. Some of these proposals include:

  • Pattern matching: A powerful new way to destructure and match complex data structures with a concise syntax.
  • Temporal: A robust, modern, and feature-rich date and time library built directly into the language.
  • Ergonomic brand checks: A proposal to simplify the process of checking the brand (i.e., the type) of an object in custom classes and data structures.
  • Realms API: A mechanism for creating isolated JavaScript environments, enabling secure code execution and sandboxing.

As web technologies continue to advance, JavaScript will undoubtedly evolve alongside them. By staying informed about upcoming features and participating in the development process, developers can help shape the future of the language and ensure its continued success.

Keep learning, experimenting, and exploring the future of JavaScript, and remember to share your experiences with the community. Together, we can create a brighter future for JavaScript and web development.

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