Node.js tools: Server-side JavaScript comes of age

Node-inspired development environments and cloud platforms are rapidly remaking the Web application stack

By Peter Wayner, InfoWorld |  Software, JavaScript, Node.js

These tools aren't luxury goods yet. They're largely the first builds, which means there are rough spots and glitches. They are typically small, simple, and far from full-featured solutions, but they're also a chance for the Node users to rethink what did and didn't work with the previous generation of Web tools. Node is addressing some of the problems people have found with the traditional stack and fixing them.

They're also rediscovering some of the reasons why the previous generation of Web developers did many of the things they did. It's a bit of a stretch to say that Node exists because it can be so costly to allocate the RAM to start up a new thread, but the Nodesters are beginning to understand why the last line of programmers created the threads in the first place. There are already a number of angry posts about Node filled with four-letter words because the JavaScript callback paradigm is too unnerving.

To understand a bit of the excitement coming from this corner of the Net, I spent some time unpacking the Node tools and putting them through simple tasks. The more I experimented, the more I found. The area is growing quickly, and this summary is already incomplete as I file it. The good news is that the ground is incredibly fertile. Node.js has revealed that running a website doesn't need to be that complicated. The tools it is spawning may not be perfect yet or ready for everything an enterprise requires, but they're real and they're beginning to play a role.

Node.js tools: Cloud9 IDEThe Cloud9 IDE is a development environment built into a website or, as the ad copy reads, development-as-a-service. You build your code with the Web app and the optional Chrome plug-in. Then, after testing it locally, Cloud9 will deploy the code into Heroku, the Joyent Cloud, or Microsoft's Azure (more on these clouds below).

The Cloud9 editor is sophisticated, providing more than the basic options available with a <textarea> field. Bolted-in extras include a JavaScript beautifier that will fix white space and clean up indentation. The code is colored, given line numbers, and semiparsed to identify undeclared variables.


Originally published on InfoWorld |  Click here to read the original story.
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