JavaScript will lead a massive shift in enterprise development

JavaScript and Node.js will change corporate technology like Java did, according to a Forrester report

changed priorities ahead sign

JavaScript in general and the server-side Node.js runtime environment in particular are setting the stage for "the biggest shift in enterprise development in more than a decade," contends a report by Forrester Research.

Released this month, the report ("The Dawn of Enterprise JavaScript") sees back-end JavaScript emerging to overcome the weaknesses of Java and .Net, while Node.js "will change corporate technology just like Java before it."

Enterprises, in fact, generally have chosen between Java and .Net when building a platform to for customer-facing Web presence, but the demands of mobile "are fracturing this duopoly," the report said. JavaScript is addressing the scalability challenge, changing enterprise architectures and programming models, and Forrester advises becoming familiar with Node.js and investigating Amazon Lambda, for cloud applications, and similar platforms.

While JavaScript platforms are not replacing Java and .Net as the foundations of enterprise architectures, JavaScript is viewed as a must-have tool in software development and delivery for modern companies. Long-running processes and legacy workflows work best on Java and .Net stacks, while the parallel, lightweight nature of the JavaScript stack is superior for customer-facing, Web-scale systems of engagement, Forrester said.

The report discusses Web servers switching to Nginx, with Node.js tasked for data composition. Raising and tearing down Node.js environments can happen in "microseconds," instead of days for Java and .Net developers, according to the report. The Node package manager (Npm), meanwhile, lets developers easily add third-party functionality to applications built on Node.

Enterprise JavaScript, though, does have challenges. For one, Node.js recently was forked, via the io.js fork. "This type of change in low-level platform software is unheard of in the enterprise, but it's a precursor to the new norm in the development world," Forrester said. Also, use of Npm poses the risk of bloat, if developers, unchecked, leverage third-party software packages to solve small problems. Open source and security violations also could result, though companies can maintain their own Npm repositories to ensure use of only vetted packages.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.