Node.js Gets Ready for the Enterprise

Michael Vizard
Mar. 31 2014, 10:00AM EDT

Node.js started life as an implementation of JavaScript found in the Google Chrome browser that is optimized for event-driven, non-blocking I/O applications. Originally, Node.js found favor in organizations that needed to build real-time applications to manage distributed devices such as routers and switches. But as Node.js has evolved, it has also been widely adopted to build both mobile computing applications and applications for the Internet of Things (IoT). The reason: Node.js makes it possible to use JavaScript in a server-side way that allows applications to scale.

Now, with the release of version 0.12 of Node.js on the immediate horizon, StrongLoop CTO Al Tsang says there will soon be a more efficient scheme for balancing loads that will make it possible to develop more enterprise-class applications using Node.js.

The new version of Node.js. will make use of what Tsang describes as “API glue” developed by StrongLoop. Based on a new round round-robin scheme for managing connections, the master process accepts all the connections and it then decides where to send a response.

Tsang says the significance of this capability for enterprise applications is that it will be much easier to build complicated workflows using Node.js. The typical business process usually touches multiple applications across a flow of connections that can now be more efficiently managed.

The next version of Node.js should also make it easier to manage virtual machines, as well as create and manage a sandbox where developers can define global methods and safely communicate back to a process, because any piece of untrusted JavaScript is now running in isolation. That also means, Node APIs have been made context-aware, says Tsang. In theory, two other versions of Node.js can be running in isolation. This would allow for things like threads in JavaScript because instead of forking child processes, developers could run multiple Node.js virtual machines on different threads.

StrongLoop, as the provider of a development framework built on top of Node.js, has a vested interest in making contributions to the core Node.js code. says Tsang. Using mixed-mode streams, these contributions will make it easier to use the StrongLoop framework to develop “omni-channel” applications that span Web browsers, mobile and IoT.

The degree to which any Node.js framework succeeds will heavily depend on the sophistication of the applications that are built. But with interest in server-side JavaScript applications rising rapidly it’s clear that Node.js—in one form or another—is coming to an enterprise near you much sooner than later.

Michael Vizard

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