August 21, 2017

There is a very high correlation between developers that have embraced Node.js to develop applications and usage of containers. A new survey of 1,405 IT professionals published by The Node.js Foundation finds 49 percent are employing containers and other cloud-native technologies. A full 50 percent of respondents are using containers for back-end development, while 52 percent of respondents are using containers for full-stack development.

A total of 39 percent of respondents are using containers for front-end development and nearly half (48 percent) are using containers for another area of development with Node.js.

Mark Hinkle, executive director of The Node.js Foundation, says that level of correlation should be expected because both technologies started to see mainstream adoption at about the same time. In addition, Hinkle notes that developers tend to favor Node.js when they need to access small amounts of data, which is also typical of most use cases involving microservices based on containers.

Most of the use cases involving Node.js involve web applications (84 percent). But a surprising 43 percent are also relying on Node.js to create enterprise applications, while another 14 percent said they are using it in the context of a big data analytics application. Hinkle said most of the usage is coming at the expense of Java, Microsoft.Net, Ruby on Rails and PHP.

All told, Hinkle says there are now some 8 million instances of Node.js, the majority of which were deployed in the last 18 months. Additionally, the survey finds that 3 out of 4 respondents plan to increase usage in the next 12 months. The top three locations preferred for deploying those applications are Amazon Web Services (AWS), on-premises environments and the Heroku platform-as-a-service environment operated by Salesforce.

Node.js and other variants of JavaScript represented a significant DevOps challenge because there’s not a lot visibility into the applications built using these languages. The Node.js Foundation has committed to making it more visible to a broader array for DevOps tools. In the meantime, however, developers are voting with their code in favor of Node.js and containers that make applications developed in the language highly portable. In addition, Hinkle notes that thanks to the ongoing development work that Google is pouring into the Chrome browser, the performance of such applications continues to improve. The core engine on which Node.js depends is based on a runtime for Chrome created by Google.

None of this means that Java or other legacy programming tools are going away anytime soon. In fact, if anything, the rise of Go and Swift suggests that DevOps teams will be dealing with a plethora of programming languages and models for years to come. In the wake of the opening of more than 180 different schools to teach Node,js, Hinkle says it’s now clear that it is here to stay.

Of course, the more polyglot an IT organization becomes in terms of programming languages, the more likely it is it will need to employ an integrated set of DevOps processes to manage to manage an increasingly diverse IT environment.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.