IBM snaps up StrongLoop to add Node.js smarts to BlueMix

IBM's acquisition of a major force in Node.js development enriches its cloud support for Node and bolsters its IoT initiative

IBM snaps up StrongLoop to add Node.js smarts to BlueMix
Credit: Sergey Nivens

StrongLoop, a major participant in the Node.js ecosystem, has a new owner: IBM.

This isn't IBM trying to become a Node player by proxy; IBM is already a founding member of the Node.js Foundation. Rather, it's about IBM adding the enterprise-level expertise of a key force in Node to its existing cloud services and software.

StrongLoop has been one of the key outfits involved in Node's ongoing development, both as software and as a community. It's one of the original members of the Node Advisory Board, which supplied guidance for the Node project from its enterprise-level users and developers.

But it's the work that StrongLoop does with Node specifically that seems to have caught IBM's eye. StrongLoop is best known for enterprise-level Node development tools, especially those for building APIs. IBM has burned quite a bit of midnight oil making BlueMix into an API delivery, development, and management platform, and Node.js has in turn become a speedy and powerful way to create APIs.

StrongLoop's Bert Belder, a Node.js core committer and member of the Node.js technical steering committee, stated in an email that he was "really happy that they recognized the potential of [StrongLoop's] API and gateway story ... I can't wait for getting access to all those resources IBM has, and I'm already thinking about how we can use them to make our great plans for Node come true."

A blog post at StrongLoop's site emphasized that the company will "continue exactly as we have in the past, only with the benefit of increased resource commitments." StrongLoop CEO Juan Carlos Soto also insisted that the company's existing intentions with its products -- mainly the LoopBack API framework and the Express Web framework -- "remains unchanged."

While IBM's plans for StrongLoop's tools revolve mainly around BlueMIx or the cloud, they're not limited to those facets. Other plans include integrating StrongLoop tooling with IBM's MobileFirst and WebSphere products, and adding "select cloud capabilities" (IBM's words) to the IBM IoT Foundation, the company's $3 billion project to create an enterprise-grade Internet of things systems-and-services platform. Node.js and JavaScript are under consideration by many other parties, such as Samsung and Microsoft, as technologies for developing IoT devices and processes.

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