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IBM Bequeaths the Express Framework to the Node.js Foundation

10 Feb 2016 8:15am, by


The Node.js Foundation has taken the Express Node.js framework under its wing.

Express will be a new incubation project for the Foundation. IBM, which purchased Express maintainer StrongLoop last September, is contributing the code.

“Express will function as it’s own separate entity; similar to how the Node.js Foundation supports Node.js through open governance with a technical steering committee, mentors and contributors that will in effect support the framework,” wrote Mikeal Rogers, community manager of the Node.js Foundation, in an email.

Express is a toolkit for building web applications and frameworks. It is often used in conjunction with Node. It can be installed through NPM (the Node Package Manager). It is often used alongside the  MongoDB database and AngularJS frontend framework. Express has been the most popular Node framework. It has been downloaded over 53 million times in the past two years, five times in the last month alone.

The release cadence and number of Express will be determined by its contributors, according to Rogers. “Traditionally those users and contributors have preferred stability to new features,” he wrote.

Part of the reason for allowing the foundation to oversee Express is to build a diverse contributor base, which is important given the framework’s popularity.

The software is used within PayPal’s open source kraken.js, an enterprise extension of Node. It also provides fundamental capabilities to Sails.js MVC (Model-View-Controller) Web framework and Loopback, a Node.js API framework.

The Foundation’s incubation process will provide Express an open governance and contribution agreement, which should appeal to organizations that rely on Express who may be worried about one vendor dominating the future direction of Express.

“As part of the incubator, mentors will work with the Express contributors to for an ‘Express Technical Committee’ whose membership is solely made of the contributors to Express and related dependencies,” Rogers said.  “That technical committee will decide who its chair is, if they feel a chair is necessary. When Express graduates from incubation they may also elect a representative to the Node.js Foundation technical steering committee.”

Express was originally developed by TJ Holowaychuk, who more recently created the Apex framework for the Lambda serverless computing service. Like Node itself, the Express framework is minimal, providing a clean interface to include additional features as plug-ins.

The Node.js Foundation was founded a year ago in order to be an independent governance body to manage the software, which provides a server-side runtime for JavaScript. Projects under the Node.js Foundation Incubator Program receive assistance and governance mentorship from the Foundation’s Technical Steering Committee and related working groups.

IBM is a sponsor of The New Stack.

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