What TypeScript Brings to Node.js
History of Node.js and TypeScript
Examining the heritage of Node.js and TypeScript requires a bit of a history lesson. Both tools trace their language syntax to Java which James Gosling developed at Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s. The designers of the Java language envisioned a language that would enable the concept of Write Once Run Anywhere (WORA). This would require a runtime system adapted for each operating system to allow syntax compatibility across various platforms.
Node.js brings so much more to the table than just runtime. The standard installation of Node.js includes the Node Package Manager (NPM) for handling library or module dependencies. It also makes it possible to run code on the server and in the browser. The Node.js ecosystem resembles what you find in the Python community regarding freely available libraries and packages to address a wide range of programming tasks.
When you look at how the two tools are used to develop applications, you begin to get a feel for how each fits in the big scheme of things. Node.js has seen significant adoption in the small application space to include things like IoT and tiny devices like Raspberry Pi. TypeScript shines when used for browser-based and user-interface applications.
The acronym NPM represents both a tool and a company. NPM Incorporated was founded in 2014 and acquired by GitHub in 2020. NPM, the device, represents one of the most used pieces of the Node.js package. If you’re looking for some code to perform a specific task, you should start with the NPM website. Type in your requested function in the search bar, and you’ll be presented with several options.
To test this site, we searched for JSON and found 41,920 packages. Results are ranked by popularity, quality, maintenance, or how recently/frequently the package receives updates. Using one of these packages in your project requires a few simple command line instructions.
Node.js and TypeScript Deployment
Deploying applications will vary depending on the target environment. Deploying a Node.js application intended to run locally typically requires you to install the Node.js runtime and supporting tools. Installers for Linux, macOS, and Windows can be downloaded from the main Node.js website. Once the installation program has been completed, you will have access to several Node.js command line tools to build and run your code.
Docker images represent another option available from the Node.js download site. This opens a wide range of possibilities for running your code locally using Docker or a cloud-services provider such as AWS from Amazon or Azure from Microsoft. It’s reasonable to develop an application using TypeScript and Node.js and run it locally or in the cloud.
Wrapup: Node.js and TypeScript
The benefits of using TypeScript for developing enterprise-ready applications far outweigh any potential issues you might encounter.
Looking to hire a Node.js developer? Our friends over at Toptal have some great resources you can check out.