Node.js was created by Ryan Dahl when he was searching for a way to bring event-driven programming to the Web. The project is currently sponsored by hosting company Joyent.
But the existing libraries and languages didn’t quite do it for Dahl, said Hughes-Croucher. “The predominant reason is that there is a lot of heritage in server-side programming already, so when he wanted to use some other library, or access a database, or do something that involved input/output, the existing heritage of those languages didn’t work very well with an event driven system,” he said.
This is because all the existing libraries were blocking, he said. “The event-driven system requires that it can continue doing other work while it’s waiting for a task to be completed. I don’t have to wait for the database process to be complete in order to do more work. People had built all this infrastructure that didn’t work this way.”
Since its release in 2010, Node.js has grown in fashion among the startups in Silicon Valley. Popular developer link site Hacker News showed a steady increase in links related to Node.js since its release, and it is now as popular as JSON among posters to the site.
Hughes-Croucher said that Node.js has a bright future ahead of it, as well. That future will soon include Windows.
“The big project we have now is Windows support. This is a big topic. We’re extremely keen on having Windows support. We feel really strongly about this,” he said.
“If you look at programming languages, there really aren’t any that have good support across Windows and Unix. There are things like Python and PHP that run on Windows, but they don’t have the performance, and they have all these Unix conventions that are so fundamental to the language, but people don’t use them in Windows.