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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Node.js and client app are the future of webdeving?

Recently we had to try a new technology. As expected, we did hit edge case quickly. After analyzing thoroughly, we had to ditch part of the stack.

But, I had developed much interest over Node.js, Redis, WebSocket and client app technologies lately and I hope that they'll take the lead.

Some frequently asked questions about these technologies:

What is Node.js?
It is set of JavaScript libraries around Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, written by Ryan Dahl in 2009.

Why Node.js is picking up?
With Node.js, it’s easy to write web server in pure JavaScript. We can totally eliminate another language interpreter layer by programming the web server to handle the request directly (For example, in LAMP, PHP is required to handle the requests. But, in Node.js based server, no such layer is required).

Is Node.js a right choice?
It depends. Though few developers may find it easy to adopt, others may find it difficult to write quality code in event-driven asynchronous style. When there are lots of modules in a project, it is better to stay with Rails-like framework.

What is Redis?
Redis is key-value (think about array('key'=> 'value')) based in-memory database.

Why Redis is picking up?
With Redis, the data access time will be greatly improved.

Is Redis a right choice?
For me, Redis is an ideal choice for medium-to-high data store and where complex reports are not required; in those cases, it’s better to use it around any RDBMS like MySQL.

What is client app technology?
The "views/templates" are available in client-side (obviously transferred from server once) and the data are transferred in JSON format from server. With this, it may be enough to setup REST service in server-end; but the client-side code may get trickier. This approach is already used in Gmail and Twitter. With Backbone.js, Knockout.js and similar frameworks, it's somewhat easy to write client apps.

Why client app technology is picking up?
Few modules--like digg, delicious, etc are the latest trend in web. So, it would be right choice for fast responsive web pages.

Is client app a right technology?
If there are too many modules and SEO is of big concern, it’s better to stay with Rails-like framework. But, note that LinkedIn has mentioned that SEO is possible with dust.js, the library that they have chosen for their client app technology migration. Some developers may find it difficult and would end up writing sloppy codes. When more browsers compatibilities are required, it may not be the right fit.

What is WebSocket?
It is the push technology through we can instantly push changed data to client.

Is WebSocket a right choice?
It depends. When the data changes are to be propagated to all clients, it will be ideal choice. We may use Socket.Io library for the browser compatibility. It is also a good fit with Node.js

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