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Node.js Is Big, And Still Getting Bigger

Chances are if you think Walmart.com or LinkedIn is running smoothly, it’s thanks to Node.js, a server-side JavaScript development framework that is currently powering everything from the biggest websites to tiny microcontrollers.

See also: What You Need To Know About Node.js

Only a few years old, Node.js is quickly winning the hearts and minds of developers and the companies they work for. Shortly after application programming interfaces (APIs)—bits of code that let different software applications communicate—became popular and useful, companies sometimes found it sometimes difficult to manage them flexibly and to keep complex networks of applications working smoothly.

The result was frequent website crashes and breakdowns. While there are other options such as Erlang, Scala, Clojure and Go, so far, Node.js has been a very good at keeping APIs, and their related web services, up and running.

Node.js Expands Its Territory

To help extend its reach into more Internet server and cloud computing environments, Joyent this week expanded its support for Node.js to nearly every operating system and infrastructure framework broadly available. Already used on Mac OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and Windows, Node.js will now also work on Linux, Solaris, OmniOS, and its own operating system: SmartOS.

See also: Why Developers Should Pay Attention To Node.js

As Node.js usage grows, it’s becoming a trusted component of load-bearing infrastructure. Companies like Walmart have made the switch to Node.js at the expense of other server-side frameworks such as Ruby on Rails.

“We have been approached by many corporate users who are rolling out production deployments at scale of Node.js,” vice president of product marketing Ben Wen said in a blog post. “Often they are interested in support for their deployments, which we can now provide in a variety of environments, in private data centers or even in clouds that are not our own.”

While Node.js is making the rounds and working wonders in some businesses, performance issues remain that require third-party software companies to adjust.

Eran Hammer of Walmart labs recently came to the Joyent Node.js core team complaining of a memory leak he had been tracking down for months, Wen explained in a separate post. The source of the leak was identified as coming from Node.js just before the Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Though it took a few weeks, the source of the leak was finally identified by Joyent engineers, allowing Walmart to roll Node.js into production for Black Friday, processing 53% of all walmart.com traffic.

At a time when retail sites are running around the clock to satisfy online shoppers, these types of improvements can mean the difference between a Black Friday and a blackout.

Correction, Dec. 9An earlier version of the story incorrectly described the source of the memory leak at Walmart.

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