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Summary:

Node.js is following in Ruby on Rails’ and NoSQL’s footsteps to become the next hacker technology to be embraced by the enterprise. Just ask Flotype, the Berkeley, CA. startup which built its NowJS architecture atop Node.js, the server-side JavaScript-based toolset.

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Node.js is following on Ruby on Rails and NoSQL footsteps to become the next hacker technology to be fully embraced by the enterprise. Just ask Flotype, a year-old startup which built its NowJS architecture atop Node.js, a server-based, event-driven JavaScript framework.

Flotype,  a 2010 Y-combinator startup, is hiring techies to help it build infrastructure for creating real-time web applications. It’s looking for high-level systems engineers with experience in Node.js as well as other languages.

“The reason Node is taking off in the enterprise is the same reason we use it. It is, from the ground up, a non-blocking, evented solution. If you build infrastructure that’s great and the corollary is if you prototype an app, it’s really easy to do very quickly,” said Darshan Shankar, CEO and co-founder of the Berkeley, Calif. company.

Flotype’s grand plan is to build infrastructure that will let any device talk to any server in a language- and hardware-agnostic way. “You can have Ruby talking to iPhone or JavaScript and Node talking to anything,” Shankar said.

According to a Y-combinator job post for an unnamed Bay Area company (but which Shankar acknowledged was FloType):

“Enterprises currently run on aging software built with decade-old technology that lacks innovation. We get to start from scratch, building cutting-edge tech on new platforms. We use everything from C++ to Node.js and Erlang and write native evented communications libraries for a variety of backends including Python, Java, Node and Ruby.”

” … Our real-time Internet infrastructure can easily handle millions of concurrent users in a variety of applications including logistics, gaming, e-commerce, communications, event processing, and more.”

The ad claims that the company’s technology is already used by startups as well as media giants, communications companies, and universities. Initial target vertical markets include logistics applications like fleet management, supply chain management as well as chat and messaging and MMO gaming.

According to the company’s web site, Flotype’s product, called Now, can handle 10,000 concurrent users and “X messages”  on a single process — something that Node.js enables. For those needing to scale beyond that, the commercial NowCluster version takes care of that in a way that the developer is insulated from whether the code runs on a single or hundreds of machines.

More Node.js milestones

As more proof of Node.js momentum, it recently surpassed Ruby on Rails to become the most popular code repository on the Github site with 11,460 watchers compared to 11,274  for Ruby on Rails.

For Jason Hoffman, CTO and founder of Joyent, the San Francisco company that built, championed and open-sourced Node.js, all this recognition is nice but hardly surprising. And he definitely would not put Node.js in the same category as the Ruby on Rails framework.

“Node.js is meant to be a data pipe …. a way to write really high-performance servers and to perform things like API input, data ingress and egress — in and out of data stores very fast. People use Ruby to write web apps,” Hoffman said.

In his view, Node.js is already embedded in the enterprise. It also got a big endorsement this week when Ebay  announced ql.io, a data-retrieval and aggregation gateway for HTTP APIs that uses a Node.js-based runtime to process scripts written in that language.

One goal of ql.io, according to eBay architect Subbu Allamaraju, is to cut the number of lines of code required to call multiple HTTP APIs while “simultaneously bringing down the network latency and bandwidth usage in certain use cases.”

In a blog post, Allamaraju explained why Ebay went with Node.js as opposed to a more “proven” Java stack that already had full operational support within the company.

Allamaraju wrote:

Javascript and node.js allowed us to iterate very rapidly. Though we were initially concerned about finding the right tools and libraries, the node.js ecosystem proved sufficient for us to build as complex a system as ql.io.

In a subsequent email, Allamaraju said: “We chose Node.js, combined with the JavaScript language, in order to iterate rapidly and handle the number of  connections necessary to support a complex system such as ql.io.”

The upcoming Node Summit 2012 in January features corporate users including Emerson IT and Sabre. With those reference accounts plus eBay and others, it seems pretty clear that Node.js is well on the road to corporate acceptance.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pedro Lozano

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  1. More proof that enterprises love Node.js http://t.co/BQqFsYJb

  2. More proof that enterprises love Node.js http://t.co/yER5maEt #Cloudcomputing

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  4. Jacquelyn Jenkins Thursday, December 1, 2011

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