Development

Node.js: An Enterprise Situation Report

29 Apr 2014 9:50am, by

Node.js, after cutting its teeth for a few years in the open source space, then being used by large-scale startups like LinkedIn and Joyent, it is now heading for the enterprise. From scaling virtualized hyper visors to operating system level virtualization with hot new technologies like Docker, Node.js and the army of JavaScript coders are pushing forward with new offerings, products and projects that make enterprise adoption a no-brainer.

Let’s dive into what makes Node.js such a great developer and server tool to bring in to the enterprise JavaScript.

Amid all the popularity and skyrocketing success of Node.js (and JavaScript in general) today, there’s a largely unremarked reason for its success, arguably more important than the technical merit of its speed, simplicity or lack of any barrier to entry. It isn’t the lack of a central authoritarian corporate regime or owner, as in the case of Microsoft and .NET, or the mixed and branched authoritarian regime of Oracle and Java. It isn’t the central convention based effort of the Rails community to build a streamlined system for building web applications. At the core of the success surrounding Node.js is the community removing the aforementioned barriers of previous languages and stacks. This success has been and continues to be all about the people of the Node.js community.

People

The organizations, companies, and people involved in the node.js ecosystem are growing rapidly. It is now often the first tech stack to implement new technologies like web sockets and real time web streams in a usable way. The community is also bringing these new technologies into a stable core faster than other competing technology stacks. It is on the cusp moving from being a bleeding edge community of people to a steady and resilient stack the enterprise developer can trust.

Branching out into Node.js is one great way to expand technology options and build a pipeline and community that will build and support enterprise projects. Here are a few ideas to help bring these projects into an enterprise to help build some technological diversity to get a candidate pipeline built!

Finance API processing

Finance is a big space with lots of problems that need solving. There are already libraries that offer connectivity with the Bloomberg API (node-blpapi), real time currency exchange rates via the Open Exchange Rates Project (npm-exchange-rates) and libraries around Excel Spreadsheets. One of the most popular is excel-export. There is no shortage of libraries to install via NPM to get started. Working with financial data for a Node.js based project.

Suggestion: One suggestion that makes for a very interesting web application, using realtime Node.js capabilities like socket.io or anything with web sockets and financial data makes for a superior trading or portfolio management application. Wire a nice dashboard up to Bloomberg data, especially anything that is updated frequently. Build in some Excel export options for post analysis and you have an excellent opportunity to build an application that uses unique real time streaming data with the ease of library usage. A great way to get experience with and expand a team’s polyglot repertoire.

Freight logistics data

Freight data spends a lot of time being parsed to and from various formats: XLS/XLSX (excel), EDI, XML, CSV, X12 EDIFACT, 410 Transaction Set, Price Authority, Transit Times, Dispatch for LTL, TL, Intermodal Data and Real-time Delivery Data just to name some of the sources. This confluence of data is easily managed with Node.js libraries at high volumes and transactional needs.

One of the easiest ways to get involved with this type of data is to write something that needs done already, simply putting Node.js into the ecosystem somewhere. Already the freight business uses a plethora of different tools to import data, from user interfaces via the browser to mobile applications that are bandwidth limited. Node.js is a great service solution to build middleware on that can integrate with minimal resources into an already high-transaction, high volume and high throughput data center.

Providing just some of the glue between these disparate systems with node.js increases the options and capabilities of any in house IT development team working in the freight business.

One more tool in the toolbelt

The user base around node.js has grown dramatically in the last year (and the year before that and before that). The library count has increased from a few hundred to tens of thousands of offerings. The community has grown to tens of thousands of users, hundreds of developers, thousands of watchers and others involved in different ways. Arguably it’s one of the largest project framework teams today. All this built by the strength of the community, made up by the type of individuals you’d want in the enterprise space.

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