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Your REPL can teach you something

I’m so, so excited because a wee change I advocated for has landed in Node. As in, if you download/upgrade your Node install to the stable version, you will see this change.


It all started when I saw a friend (shoutout to Mudit, he writes smart things and is awesome) mention the .help option for the Node REPL on Twitter.

File this under “the things I don’t know are innumerable.” One might think that’s is “a thing you learn doing the JavaScript thing” but nope, never knew about .help or .exit in the Node REPL until then.

Hemanth made a pull request based on our discussion. Then the discussion on the PR was something to see. While there was some requisite “nay, no change needed” there were people commenting on the pull request who learned about the functionality!



I’m super excited to have been (somewhat) involved in a change that ZOMG is now in Node ZOMG.

As I look at the discussion again though, there’s an interesting seed in the “no” case – there’s a use of the word “just” explicitly in one of the comments.

The word “just” seems to appear in cases where there’s an argument for a user to “just” do something or to “figure it out.” The Node REPL is a system for users [developers], and when we [those developers] don’t make things usable, we have a large impact with such a decision.

I feel that the change Hemanth made is a step in the right direction, and there’s more we can do to make this and systems like it more user [developer] friendly.

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