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Node.js, the server-side JavaScript runtime engine, has just gotten a lot faster.

The Node.js Foundation has released version 6 of Node.js Tuesday, which will offer security updates, performance improvements, and increased stability.

The most significant boon to developers with this update is to performance. Node.js v6 loads modules four times faster than its LTS (long term support) predecessor, Node.js v4. As most Node deployments rely on multiple external modules, this improvement could dramatically cut the time it takes to start complex Node-based deployments.

Node v6 also buddies up to the new ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) standard, through the inclusion of the recently updated v8 JavaScript engine, vesrion 5.0. As a result, 93 percent of ES6 features are also now supported in the Node.js v6 release, up from 56 percent for Node.js v5 and 50 percent for Node.js v4.  New ES6 features include default and rest parameters, destructuring, class and super keywords.

Security has also improved with the addition of the new Buffer API, aimed at reducing the amount of bugs leaking into applications. It uses a new constructor method for creating Buffer instances, as well as a command-line flag for empty buffers.

Node Use

Organizations such as NASA and Netflix have relied on Node.js and platforms such as NodeSource to power their infrastructure, both citing Node.js’s scalability as one of its standout features.

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“As we transition from a legacy environment to a modern Node-based architecture, N|Solid, along with the support of NodeSource, is proving invaluable by allowing us to scale rapidly while staying focused on our core mission,” said Collin Estes, MRI Technologies’ director of software engineering, and chief architect.

Netflix originally migrated from an enterprise-level Java environment to Node.js to streamline its user interface experience, though it has been active in OSS for some time. Netflix has even developed its own Open Source Cloud Prize contest, held annually since 2013. When on-boarding Node.js, it found that build speed was also significantly increased. “Java applications could take as long as 40 minutes to start up, which doesn’t exactly lend itself to a speedy DevOps process,” said Kim Trott, director of user interface engineering at Netflix.

Quality of Life Improvements with Node.js

Automating one’s workflow is crucial when working within any development pipeline, with developers often faced with challenges running applications cross-platform. When Gojko Adzic began building the Claudia.js deployment utility, he noted that working in Node.js meant that these issues were bypassed while also allowing for greater flexibility regarding automation. Claudia.js helps developers get things done quickly, allowing them to automate their boilerplate code to focus on higher-priority workloads.

“Cross-platform deployers leave developers to deal with language-specific issues and requirements. Because Claudia only works with Node.js projects, we could automate a lot more than a generic deployer can — we know how the files are organized in a typical Node.js project, what needs to be sent up and how it needs to be configured,” Adzic said.

As Node.js continues to shape today’s development landscape, there can be no doubt that the Node.js Foundation and its many contributors to the project and NPM alike are setting their sights on the future of the language and its frameworks.

Feature image via Pixabay


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