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Editorial: A Spotlight on Interesting JavaScript Projects

This is the editorial from my latest JavaScript newsletter, you can subscribe here.

Occasionally while browsing the web I come across some cool project or library that does something I’d never thought about doing (or didn’t know could be done) with JavaScript. I suppose it just goes to prove Atwood’s Law: “Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.”.

Recently I came across a project called Conkie. The Linux users among you may be familiar with the software that inspired it, Conky, a widget framework for displaying information from various plugin modules to your desktop. These modules usually display system stats like CPU temperature, HDD usage, and network transfers, but are highly customizable to display pretty much any kind of information you want.

Conky modules are written in the Lua scripting language, which can be a hurdle if you don’t know it. The JavaScript version is built on top of Electron. If you’re not already familiar with it, Electron is an application framework that combines Node.js with the Chromium browser to allow you to create cross-platform desktop applications.


Conkie’s functionality is divided across modules, written in JavaScript, for collecting the data, and themes, which allow you to style the output using HTML and CSS. This means that we web developers have the ability to create and customize widgets using the technologies we know best. The default theme uses Angular (v1.x) and Highcharts to format the output but thanks to Electron you can use any front-end framework or visualization libraries that you want.

Conkie is still a relatively new project (not yet a year old) and still a work-in-progress. The creator, Matt Carter, seems to be working on this pretty much solo and is on the lookout for contributors, so this could be a great opportunity to dip your toe into open-source if you haven’t already. As well as help making Conkie work on Mac and Windows systems, Matt is also after some design help, so there is scope to get involved no matter where your skills lie.

As developers, it’s easy to get into a rut building similar types of software day in and day out, I think that taking a look at projects such as this can help to inspire your curiosity about what can be done with JavaScript, and maybe even spark new ideas for your next side-project! We’d like to highlight more interesting JavaScript projects, so if you come across something unusual or inspiring, tweet us @SitePointJS with the hashtag #SpotlightOnJS.

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