Outdated JS Libraries on the Web – Virtual (un-recycled) waste?


Part of sustainability projects includes defining “life cycles” for products and services, which includes ongoing maintenance. On the web, this best translates to removing and updating obsolete, buggy, code, or code with known security problems. Considering this, the following research paper on obsolete JavaScript libraries is quite interesting:

Thou shalt not depend on me: analysing the use of outdated JavaScript libraries on the web

The research paper makes it clear that about 1/3 of all sites are running with obsolete JS libraries, often with significant and know security issues. While patches abound, there is no strategy to (1) list obsolete code in a central database, and (2) provide notifications that old code needs to be updated

My conclusion from this is that any Sustainable Virtual Design strategy should include, as part of maintenance and updates, checks for old JS code, along with a strategy for updating. Web Browsers now apply an “evergreen” strategy where updates are automatically pushed to all users. Is there a place for building a general-purpose “evergreen” system for web JavaScript?

 

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