JXCore's new trick: Convert Node.js projects into self-running apps

Newest beta of the JXCore fork of Node.js lets users compile Node applications and dependent modules into deliverables

JXCore, a fork of Node.js, garnered attention for the intriguing way it boosts Node performance by adding a novel multithreading mechanism. Now the project has a new trick up its sleeve in its latest beta release: the ability to compile a stand-alone executable out of a Node.js project.

JXCore 2.30 can package Node.js applications, along with all their dependent modules, into a single deliverable that has no external dependencies. A non-Node user can take the resulting binary and run it without having to install anything else.

The packaging process is platform-dependent; a Windows user can only package Windows executables, for example. That said, JXCore is apparently planning to monetize the need for cross-compilation for other platforms. In a blog post describing the new feature, the company states, "We offer a paid cloud binary for the companies/individuals to compile their solution on a single developer machine for multiple operating systems/architectures at once."

Packaging a Node.js application has typically been done by bundling a copy of the Node.js executable with the application files, in much the same way a Python application can be bundled with a copy of its own interpreter. In a similar vein, Roger Wang's node-webkit project can be used to package a Node app for desktop use.

JXCore's approach is intended to produce packages that more self-contained, easier to deliver, and more difficult to tamper with. Earlier versions of JXCore allowed an app's files to be packaged into a single .jx file for protection, but still needed the Node.js binary to run it.

The biggest objection people may have to JXCore has been raised before: It's currently a closed source project. However, the official JXcore site notes, "JXCore will be open sourced prior to release candidate," so those previously unwilling to commit themselves to it may feel a little less uneasy now. What'll be truly interesting after that happens is to see if, or how, JXcore's changes are recommited back into Node.js itself.

This story, "JXCore's new trick: Convert Node.js projects into self-running apps," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.