Here are some projects that are being actively developed out there and that I find the most interesting at the moment. Currently I am just an observer, but I am always on the lookout for the right opportunity to contribute one way or another.
Lightning is a protocol and a network for scalable and instant Bitcoin transactions. It makes so much sense and is one of the next missing pieces in the Bitcoin saga. The technology hasn’t reached the tipping point yet, but I’m patiently observing it from the sidelines. To me Lightning Labs is one of most interesting companies out there right now.
Scuttlebutt is a peer to peer social network. I find it to be the most fascinating piece of software of it’s kind, because of how it currently operates with 10s of thousands of users without involving any servers! All of the data and communication is happening completely client to client, laptop to laptop, phone to phone. Manyverse is the latest and potentially one of the most important projects in this space as it’s bringing the social network to mobile devices.
React Native Web does something that seems unusual at first. It takes the React Native framework normally used for the cross platform mobile development and ports it’s APIs, components and features to work on the Web too. This is useful if you’re planning to share React components between all three platforms (Web, iOS and Android). But the real power and foresight of RNW (and Necolas) comes from recognizing that the React Native team were tasked with abstracting the two mobile platforms with a new universal UI language, without any baggage and by combining the best ideas from React / Web / Mobile. What you get in the end is an approach to UI development (including Web App development) that might well be a superior way of working. For example, there are no media queries, instead your components can be responsive to their own dimensions, not just the viewport dimensions, and not only tweak the styles but any of the behaviour. This is just one of many examples of RNW innovation.
Feathers is a REST and real-time API layer for Node.js, React Native and the browser. Node.js has been my favorite and favored choice for creating APIs or other backend systems. I generally most frequently use Express and have more recently started using Fastify as well. But Feathers operates at a higher level, on top of http frameworks. It helps you structure and organise your code across server and client. And it provides realtime capabilities for your API seamlessly. I think realtime should be part of any modern application toolkit and I don’t know of any other frameworks that have approached it from the core like Feathers. With a few more iterations, and with more help from the community, I think Feathers could realise it’s full potential and become a de facto standard framework for Node, aka the Rails of Node.