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Arek Nawo
03 Dec 2020
5 min read

Lesser-known JavaScript open-source projects of 2020

It’s that time of the year again. December for many of us means holidays, end of the year, but also yearly summaries, recaps, and all those “Top X” lists you most likely have seen before.

But who can blame us? Lists are fun and compact forms to learn about something new quickly, with an option to double down when you’re eventually interested in the topic.

Last year I made a big list of top 20 GitHub projects stars-wise. I doubt it changed much throughout this year, so I decided to do something different.

Today, we’ll go through 6 of some of the lesser-known (but known to me) open-source JavaScript projects of 2020. Now, it’s not like they have too few GitHub stars or something. It’s that they get far less attention in the web dev community than they deserve, in my opinion.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy the ride and possibly find something new for you. Let’s dive in!


You might not have heard of this repo, but I bet you’ve heard of many of JavaScript’s quirks. I love this language, but I must admit that even if you know it thoroughly, it can still give you some of these “WTF” moments.

And that’s where WTF JS steps in. It’s essentially a giant README file that lists a fair number of these JS quirks (no one can be certain if that’s all of them). Learning about them might not only help you impress other devs but see the language in a new light as well.


Etcher landing page
Etcher landing page

Now, possibly it’s one of the most personal entries on this list, but a well-deserved one.

Etcher is an OS image flasher that one will find very useful when switching between OSs, installing or trying new ones, and stuff like that. Basically, something that I do for fun, but also that can often save me some real trouble.

With that said, Etcher isn’t on a web dev list without reason. It’s an Electron app that’s cross-platform, sports stunning UI, and is very fast and reliable (not only for an Electron app). Overall, arguably the best image flasher you can find.


Docusaurus landing page
Docusaurus landing page

Depending on how familiar and involved in open-source you are, you might know Docusaurus. It’s a tool that eases-out all things related to open-source documentation. It takes Markdown, slices, dices, and outputs a beautiful documentation website.

If you’ve ever had to deal with an open-source project, you’d know how important good docs are. They’re the forefront and most important “marketing medium” for your project and serve as a means for your users to judge the project’s quality and learn more about it.

Docusaurus might not write the entire docs for you. Still, with ease-of-use of Markdown, great React-powered extendability, and a plethora of other features, it’ll undoubtedly make the process easier.


“Lorem ipsum” can only get you this far, and when you need any other kind of fake data, there’s no better place to look for it than Faker.js.

With everything from texts, through addresses, dates, names, all the way to images, avatars, and more, Faker is the best way to fill the temporary blanks in your designs or test new database models.


With many different front-end and back-end JavaScript frameworks and more popping up seemingly every day, it’s becoming increasingly harder to compare them.

That’s why RealWorld is so great. It’s like the description says - “the mother of all demo apps” - taking the same Medium-like website project and implementing it in a unified way, with many “mix & matchable” frameworks (front- and back-end).

If you’re “in the market” for a new framework or want to check out what’s new, definitely give RealWorld a shot to get the sense of the framework’s API, performance, and overall real-world usage example.


Reveal.js landing page
Reveal.js landing page

We’re living in times where everything that isn’t dedicated to a specific, highly-popular JS framework (like React, Vue, or Angular) or a group of them often gets tossed aside.

I’m not sure if that’s what’s happening to Reveal.js, but I get that feeling. If you don’t know it, it’s an “HTML presentation framework” - basically a much cooler PowerPoint for web developers.

Ever wondered what it’d be if you could make your next presentation with web technologies without being bound by the rules of your slideshow software? Well, Reveal.js gives you a chance to find out!

The framework provides you a whole toolbox of CSS class names and JavaScript utils to get your beautiful presentation going even faster. And on top of that, with impressive transitions and mobile support, it could make for a remarkable landing page as well!

These aren’t all…

So, obviously, these aren’t all the “underrated” open-source projects. Sure, they all have a large number of stars, but it’s not about that. It’s that they aren’t covered as much or as well-known as, e.g., React. While, in my opinion, they deserve at least half of its popularity.

But what are your thoughts on the matter? What are some of your top “underrated” open-source projects - JS or otherwise. I surely won’t cover them all by myself, but if you leave yours in the comments below, maybe we could sort something out!

Anyway, thanks for reading. For more web dev content, lists, tutorials, etc., follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or through my newsletter, and consider subscribing to my “reborn” YouTube channel. Have a nice day!

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