So developers are excited – now what?
The truth is I don’t really know. So far, a lot of what I have seen in Node falls under the heading of “cute.” “Check out this chat room I wrote with 100 lines of code,” or “Check out this cool thing I did with web sockets.” I’m not picking on Node, so save your hate mail. In fact, I developed a “cute” project in Node myself with web sockets for remote control of Youtube videos (which also had a chat component). I had a lot of fun and the project was done in two days. I felt the power and ease of Node and could see how great it could be, but that is a long way from the types of complex applications I have written in PHP or Ruby. This makes me wonder what it would be like to build something like an enterprise caliber CMS using Node. Could I do it? Sure! Would I want to? No way! At least not now – and the answer has less to do with Node and more to do with tools/frameworks. Let’s face it, as modern developers we rely a lot on tools and the useful abstractions offered by our frameworks of choice. While Node does have a few promising MVC frameworks like Express and Grasshopper, they are still pretty green and can’t yet provide developers with same kind of productivity increases that other modern frameworks like Rails or Yii (my PHP framework of choice) offer. As long as this remains the case, it seems likely that Node will remain in the “cute” zone. Sure, a lot of cool projects will be done in Node, but it won’t be making the kind of huge unifying impact it seems capable of.