Issue 001: Rewrite that messy package.json

Web Builders Digest — Issue 1

Written by Rico Sta. Cruz
(@rstacruz) · 24 Nov 2022

Happy November! Here’s a random grab bag of things I found interesting lately. If you find any of these interesting, you can follow me on Mastodon for more random stuff 🙂

In this article:
  1. Deno now supports npm
  2. Rewrite messy package.json’s with wireit
  3. Good things move to the core
  4. Better diagrams with D2
  5. Windows automation with AutoHotkey

Deno now supports npm

Deno released an update that allows using npm packages within Deno. Word is that it can run Vue, and there’s a 5-minute demo of it with Vite.

How does that work?

Example: npm packages in Deno

It supports many things available in npm, like the ability to run packages without explicitly installing them.

import chalk from "npm:[email protected]"
Terminal window
# run a command from a package (compare with "npx")
deno run npm:prisma init

Rewrite messy package.json’s with wireit

I find myself needing to chain some build commands, like when trying to couple Tailwind with create-react-app. Or Parcel with Eleventy. wireit is a small utility to help with that. Here’s an example of chaining tsc (TypeScript compiler) with rollup (bundler):

Short 15-line example…

Wireit example

Wireit config is placed in package.json like so.

"scripts": {
"build": "wireit",
"bundle": "wireit"
"wireit": {
"build": {
"command": "tsc",
"files": ["src/**/*.ts", "tsconfig.json"],
"output": ["lib/**"]
"bundle": {
"command": "rollup -c",
"dependencies": ["build"],
"files": ["rollup.config.json"],
"output": ["dist/bundle.js"]

Now one command can orchestrate the tsc -> rollup pipeline.

Terminal window
npm run bundle
# runs "build" (TypeScript) then "bundle" (Rollup)
npm run bundle --watch
# ...same, but comes with its own file watcher
🥛 Don't forget to drink water! Also, I write articles about web development and productivity. If you'd like to support me, subscribe to the email list so you don't miss out on updates.

Good things move to the core

An interesting observation about dev tools: it starts with having many choices, then the best ideas survive, then those ideas move to the core. This toot illustrates it like so.

Better diagrams with D2

D2 is a new text-to-chart language, similar to Mermaid and Graphviz. Some nice examples are available on, and it seems D2 can handle some diagrams better than Mermaid or PlantUML. Source on GitHub.

How do D2 diagrams and code look like?

D2 example

Here’s how D2 compares to another diagram markup language like Mermaid.

D2 vs Mermaid

There’s also a D2 cheatsheet with some great examples on how to get started.

Windows automation with AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is the leading automation tool for Windows, similar to Hammerspoon on the Mac. However, it’s a peculiar language compared to scripting languages of today - at least in my opinion.

AutoHotkey-jk is an extension to AutoHotkey that allows writing scripts in JavaScript. Documentation is very sparse, but the project is very promising.

Example of AutoHotkey-jk script

A script might look like this:

// Bind a shortcut to ctrl-alt-a
hotkey("^!a", () => {
winMove(0, 0) // move to screen top-left
msgBox("Calculator is now open!")

Written by Rico Sta. Cruz

I am a web developer helping make the world a better place through JavaScript, Ruby, and UI design. I write articles like these often. If you'd like to stay in touch, subscribe to my list.


More articles

← More articles