Node-inspired development environments and cloud platforms are rapidly remaking the Web application stackFollow @peterwayner
To understand a bit of the excitement coming from this corner of the Net, I spent some time unpacking the Node tools and putting them through simple tasks. The more I experimented, the more I found. The area is growing quickly, and this summary is already incomplete as I file it. The good news is that the ground is incredibly fertile. Node.js has revealed that running a website doesn't need to be that complicated. The tools it is spawning may not be perfect yet or ready for everything an enterprise requires, but they're real and they're beginning to play a role.
Node.js tools: Cloud9 IDE
The Cloud9 IDE is a development environment built into a website or, as the ad copy reads, development-as-a-service. You build your code with the Web app and the optional Chrome plug-in. Then, after testing it locally, Cloud9 will deploy the code into Heroku, the Joyent Cloud, or Microsoft's Azure (more on these clouds below).
The Cloud9 editor is sophisticated, providing more than the basic options available with a
Although many of the features won't surprise anyone using an IDE on their desktop, the surprise is that Cloud9 feels like a desktop tool in your browser. My favorite part is the command-line field where you can type in Git commands just as you would in your terminal window.
The service is not just aimed at Node programmers. You can also upload PHP and Ruby. The editor even claims the ability to colorize the syntax of C++, although I'm not sure what would happen to this code.
Everything here is free if you're willing to share your code with the world. If you want private projects and a private environment when it's available, the price is $15 per month. Cloud9 also promises to add collaboration tools.
Node.js tools: Dreadnot
On the surface, Node looks easy to use in a product. Once you write your code, you move it to the machine and type
Alas, there are never enough configuration options in life, so serious Node folks created Dreadnot, a terrible pun, and set it to work organizing the Node stacks of code. It logs into your Git directory, checks out your code, and starts it up on your server. You control all of this with another configuration file, and Dreadnot handles the deployment. This is a nice way to begin automating a checklist of what needs to be fixed and checked before you run your code in production.
The Dreadnot code, now open source, was based on a tool called Deployinator created by Etsy to handle some of the workload around its craft marketing site. There's not much documentation, but that isn't a problem yet. Most of the options are self-explanatory, except perhaps the password file. But the code is all there and it works.