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Node has finally grown up

Perhaps it’s that the Qualcomm (Mkt cap $92B) speaker told me about a partnership with United Healthcare (Mkt cap $147B) in which the two were aligning to drive adoption of wearable IoT, or maybe it was Joyent front-and-center as a/the major Node contributor having freshly been acquired by Samsung (Mkt cap $195B), but the overarching theme of NodeSummit this year was most certainly: Node has [finally] grown up. The extended theme was ‘Node.js is ready for primetime’ and ‘every company is a tech company’, and the former is due in large part to massive corporations trying to wrap their head around the latter. Javascript’s client and server side omniscience can be ignored no longer, and Node.js is how backend devops are answering their frontend web developers’ calls.

It’s almost like the silent acquiescence of an industry was in the room alongside Google Cloud Platform and Nodesource’s N|Solid efforts. You can easily see how Nodesource could be on many corp.devs’ radars. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into bridging Node’s capabilities with the enterprise’s reality, and now it’s time to collect. This IS the future, and if you still don’t believe it, go ask IBM, Walmart, NASA, Harvard … take your pick because they were all in the room. I mentioned Samsung choosing Joyent as they start to build out/upon the #SamsungCloud, another oh so obvious Node acquisition is Yahoo’s final resting place at Verizon (Mkt cap $224B). A pretty senior dev from Yahoo was on the ‘Node.js at Scale’ panel, and all I could think about was ‘I hope Verizon listens to him’.

“Server-side JavaScript platform Node.js remains on the rise in enterprise IT, as its usage has been doubling every year for four years now, according to the Node.js Foundation.”

That quote is from the article ‘The future of Node.js: Stable, secure, everywhere‘, and in many ways that title sums it up. As is this one: “Looking to spread Node “everywhere,” proponents are pushing for increased adoption across servers and the desktop as well as the internet of things, according to a presentation by Rod Vagg, member of the Node Technical Steering Committee.” Vagg (CNO Nodesource) and Mikeal Rogers (Community Node.js Foundation) were part of the Foundation’s panel and did a great job of highlighting the fact so much has happened in a year. Through the work of Joyent, Nodesource, and other members, 2016 is shaping up to be the year that Node gets the respect it deserves in the enterprise.

IoT Drivers

There are a lot of drivers for the increasing onset of javascript and node.js, but one most certainly appears to be IoT. There were no less than 3 sessions at the conference pertaining to this trend: ‘Leveraging Node.js across the IoT Landscape’, [my keyworded favorite] ‘Scalable Microservices, IoT, Mobile and more with gPRC, Docker, and Kubernetes’, and ‘Javascript’s Current and Future role in the IoT’. It comes as no surprise that the resource-conscious world of IoT values an efficient engine, that simple, clean [automation] code will be a key to networking our planet. “Built on Google’s V8 open source JavaScript engine, Node.js is known for its speed, scalability and efficiency—making it great for developing data-intensive, real-time applications. This, of course, makes Node.js well-suited for the IoT, which is reliant on data-intensive, real-time devices and applications.” And with frameworks like cylon.js coming online and growing immensely popular in short-order, it is easy to see how a Node IoT backend will become the standard.

Google’s gonna GOOG

I couldn’t help leaving the conference thinking about what an advantage Google holds in this new[er] frontier. A lot of what older companies are trying to implement in their ‘IT departments’ is a playbook Google has written over the last decade. It is not difficult to predict how Google Cloud is going to try and compete with AWS when you take a deeper look at truly how sophisticated, if not defining, some of the work coming out of the -Plex is. With Kubernetes for example, this IS how companies are adopting containers, and to bridge these two realms, NPM’s Nodejs Kubernetes Client is ready for your input/output. It is a great strategic move for Google. As Node companies built on the V8 engine begin to emerge in their respective categories, GOOG will have integration preference on those it looks to acquire.

Netflix Titus, Heroku Boosted

Netflix is no stranger to the cloud native conversation(s) and their presence at the Summit was noticeable. In addition to the ‘Node.js at Scale’ panel previously mentioned, they also presented “A Netflix original: Slaying Monoliths with Docker and node.js’, in which a very high-level overview of their container management and scheduling system Titus was given. It will be interesting to see if they opensource that project in the future. There are certainly a lot of eyes looking to large orgs scaling Docker in production. And as for the javascript PaaS of choice, Heroku left little doubt that they’re still investing heavily into that title and the Node community at large. Their ‘Wish you were here (#WYWH)’ campaign to deploy an app and qualify for a Boosted skateboard was pretty clever (in contention for best swag of 2016 even).

@netflix #titus: container management and scheduling #aws #mesos #docker #zfs #nodejs

A photo posted by jeremiah shackelford (@jshack) on

@trott, @jasnell, & @dshaw

I’m always impressed with technical conferences where the speakers are so comfortable/confident with the subject matter/tech that they could be speaking in their own living rooms. Rich Trott (UCSF), James Snell (IBM), and Dan Shaw (Nodesource) were three such speakers. To emphasize his early Node roots, in addition to those awesome puppy jpegs, Trott at one point quotes Ryan Dahl in citing successful node.js architectures are “proxies all the way down”. I knew James Snell’s contributions were heartfelt when he shared “open source burnout is a very real thing”. Can’t argue with that. And finally, Dan Shaw blurred thru so much content as to remove any doubt that he lives and breathes Node. These guys meant business, and it is not hard to see how all their hard work is going to pay off in a big way. Javascript is the language of the future, Node.js is the backend engine/environment for that future.


[Sidenote: I had the question asked to me about other javascript conferences worth attending, and to any/every -one interested in the JS world, I would highly recommend Fluent. #solid]

About The Author
Jeremiah Shackelford
Jeremiah Shackelford
Jeremiah Shackelford, Business & Market Developer