Node.js - Now With Added Windows
Written by Ian Elliot   
Monday, 21 November 2011

If you have been always meaning to try out Node.js to find out what the fuss is all about the good news is that the latest version, Node.js 0.6, makes it very easy.

Node.js is server side JavaScript. You can use it to create applications that work like web server under the control of a JavaScript application. There is also a growing ecosystem of modules that do all sorts of standard jobs.

Essentially Node.js is JavaScript out of the browser. The only problem was that it only worked well under Linux and to run it under Windows you needed to install Cygwin and jump though various hoops. Given the majority of servers use Linux, this wasn't a huge problem for deployment, but it did stop programmers from trying it out on desktop machines which are still predominantly Windows based.




Back in June Microsoft and Joyent announced that they were working on a native Windows port of Node.js. Now we have v0.6.0, the first stable build that includes Windows support.

Just in case you think that this is just a win for Windows programmers there are also a host of general improvements:

  • Native Windows support using I/O Completion Ports for sockets.
  • Integrated load balancing over multiple processes.
  • Better support for IPC between Node instances 
  • Improved command line debugger
  • Built-in binding to zlib for compression 
  • Upgrade v8 from 3.1 to 3.6

The port also involved reworking the core architecture, which happily also improved performance under Linux and against the previous version running under Windows with the help of Cygwin.

There are still some missing components, however. Work is progressing on making it available under Azure and on iisnode, which will enable Node.js to be hosted on IIS. At the moment there is also only an experimental version of the NPM module manager, however things seem to be moving rapidly.




Node.js is a very different way of thinking of creating a web application and it is difficult to say if it could have any real effect in the long run. It is certainly true to say that it isn't ready for a production environment as yet, but it is also true that you need to try it out if only to widen your horizons.

See Getting Started with Node.js

More information

Node.js blog

Node.js web site

Download including installers and source code.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 28 November 2011 )