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Node.js Moves to a Stable, VM-Neutral Future

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Posted November 29, 2016 By Sean Michael Kerner     Feedback

Widely used open-source platform for applications benefits from new efforts intended to provide a more stable base for developers and end-users.

On November 29, 2016 the Node.js Foundation announced a major effort to help further grow and stabilize node.js on different virtual machines (VMs). By enabling node.js to be VM-neutral, the hope is that it can be used by application developers on a wider variety of platforms and devices.

The Node.js Foundation is a multi-stakeholder effort that was first launched by the Linux Foundation in June 2015 in an effort to help stabilize the fractured node.js community.

The Node.js API (NAPI) is a key part of the Node.js Foundation's efforts as it aims to define a stable module API. That's important as it means that modules, which are critical to application developers, can be built and run with with the latest versions of Node.js without recompilation. According to the Node.js Foundation, there are a billion module package downloads every week for node.js modules.

"A large part of the Foundation’s work is focused on improving versatility and confidence in node.js," Mikeal Rogers, community manager of the Node.js Foundation, said in a statement. "Node.js API efforts support our mission of spreading node.js to as many different environments as possible. This is the beginning of a big community web project that will give VMs the same type of competition and innovation that you see within the browser space."

Another related effort to expand the footprint for node.js is to enable it to run effectively on the ChakraCore JavaScript engine from Microsoft.

"Huge strides have been made in improving the technical state of how Node.js interacts and manages expectations with the underlying JavaScript VM," stated Dan Shaw, CTO and co-founder of NodeSource. "The fully open source nature of ChakraCore makes testing new features extremely easy."

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While the Node.js Foundation is moving toward a VM-neutral future, there are still many milestones to complete and much engineer work to be done. The full roadmap for NAPI is posted on Github consisting of 11 different milestones. To date, only the first two milestones are marked as complete.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Apps Today and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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