What is the appeal of server-side JavaScript?


Answer by Ryan Grove:

There are several reasons why server-side JavaScript is rapidly gaining momentum:

  • It allows you to use the same language on the server and the client. This increases the amount of code that can be shared and decreases the cost and effort required to hire developers, since you don't need to hire different people to write code in different places. An expert in client-side JavaScript can quickly become an expert in server-side JavaScript. Plus, JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world, so there are quite a few people who are already good at it.
  • It's crazy fast. Node.js (which is where most of the server-side JS buzz is these days) is an incredibly fast evented IO framework that makes it a cinch to write highly scalable network programs.
  • JavaScript is awesome. Although it has many notorious "bad parts", JavaScript is pretty awesome on the whole. It's object-oriented, dynamically typed, prototypal, and it supports lambdas and closures. This allows for rapid development and makes the language flexible enough and expressive enough to meet a wide range of needs.
  • The recent revival of the browser wars means that there are several excellent JavaScript engines all competing with one another to get faster and better. Since many of these engines can also be used to run server-side JS, this means there's a good selection of excellent JavaScript engines to choose from (although Node.js currently only runs on V8).
  • Node.js showed up at the right time. PHP, currently the most popular server-side language, has been mired in community squabbling amidst a large effort to refactor its character encoding support, while also losing developer mindshare to the many excellent Ruby web frameworks that have appeared in the last few years. But Ruby web frameworks, and the language itself, have become notorious for having performance issues and sometimes being hard to scale (although some of this perception is based on misinformation), so the appearance of a new highly performant, highly scalable evented IO framework built on top of the world's most popular programming language couldn't have been better timed.

What is the appeal of server-side JavaScript?

About AvatarNemo

V: Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valourous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition! The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it's my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.

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