“These are huge organizations, with a lot of physical infrastructure out there, so having communities which are focused on machine-to-machine usage of Node.js, and sharing best practices, or building out our libraries that can be reused by developers going forward, in this space, is something which has yet to take off. The community around machine-to-machine industrial automation companies has yet to emerge,” said Khuti.

John McKinley, CTO of News Corp., said that Node is just getting started. “The community thrives when there is a large addressable space of use cases,” he said, intimating that he hoped the community would take more direction queues from the enterprise user base. Indeed, a number of the talks at this summit seemed to be focused on encouraging the Node.js community to address problems inside enterprises.

The Node community is thriving and capable of helping with those enterprise problems, said Chris Allen, CEO of Brass Monkey, a company that builds mobile games with Node.js. Of those enterprise IT challenges, he said, “I think they’re incredibly sexy. You can do so many cool things with [Node.js], people need to come up with these new use cases that will change the world.”

Growing Nodes
Node.js is still growing, but it is this energetic growth that Walmart.com’s Dion Almaer, vice president of mobile architecture, and Ben Galbraith, vice president of mobile engineering, find so appealing about using Node.js in an enterprise.

Said Galbraith of the appeal of Node.js to Walmart: “I think a big part of our success is the talent. At Walmart, we have huge challenges to solve, which is part of the appeal of working here. But we had to have a platform that really energized people and gave us access to some of the best people in the industry. To be able to go out and offer people the opportunity to work in Node at this scale has really been a great ingredient for us to attract top talent.”

Almaer and Galbraith were originally at Palm, where they worked in developer relations. Back in the early days of WebOS, the engineering team decided it would be neat to write some of its server-side code in JavaScript instead of the Java it had been using, said Almaer. The idea eventually manifested in a release of Node.js 0.2 for WebOS.

Said Galbraith of his work with Almaer after they left Palm: “We’d been fascinated for a long time about end-to-end JavaScript. We’d been chasing end-to-end for a long time. We were doing this thing called FunctionSource. We were pursuing an architecture where we could seamlessly mix services. We were wondering how you could have a website that’s rich and dynamic on desktop and mobile devices, but also delivers a rich experience on devices that aren’t very powerful.”

And Node.js has enabled them to build just such an application for Walmart. Using Node.js, they and a team of about two dozen Node.js developers have built an application that allows customers to use the Internet to enhance their shopping experiences at Walmart.

“When we were talking to Walmart (as consultants), we talked to people all the way up to the CEO about how important mobile is,” said Galbraith. “With mobile, customers are bringing the Internet into the store with them. We can finally bridge the gap between online and offline sales.”