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Microsoft Talks Up Windows Azure's Node.js Ties

Microsoft spotlighted the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js, which the company launched in December, with a demo at the recent Node Summit in San Francisco.

During his keynote presentation at the event, Microsoft vice president Scott Guthrie emphasized Microsoft's support for the open source Node.js server-side JavaScript development environment. Microsoft sees Node.js, often called simply "Node," as an important technology for the Azure cloud computing platform, Guthrie said, noting that Microsoft has been part of the Node community for about six months. Microsoft has worked closely with Joyent, the chief commercial sponsor of Node and home to the Node.js core development team. Being an active participant in that community and contributing to it so that "Node runs great on Windows" is a priority, Guthrie said.

Node, which has been described as "the new Ruby on Rails," is based on Google's V8 JavaScript engine and provides a JavaScript API for accessing network and file systems. Unlike other JavaScript code, which executes in the Web browser, Node.js runs on the server side.

During his presentation, Guthrie gave a demo of the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js, which is designed to streamline the experience of building and deploying Node apps to the Azure cloud. Developers use the lightweight cmdlets command in the Windows PowerShell framework and their own code editor. He also showed off the Azure Node Package Manager (NPM) module, which enables developers hosting Node apps in any environment to use Windows Azure Storage services, and used the newly integrated Cloud9 IDE to deploy code to the Azure cloud.

"Over the next couple of weeks you're going to see us basically round out all of the features of Azure to have integrated Node.js libraries, and all the features of Azure exposed through a Raw REST API," Guthrie said. All the libraries Microsoft is building for Azure are now supported on the GitHub code collaboration site, he added, and released under the Apache 2 license.

The Azure/Cloud9 integration was unveiled at the conference, and marks a significant milestone for the company. Essentially, it allows developers to deploy applications directly to the Azure cloud and permanently host the code there. Cloud9 Founder and CEO Ruben Daniels said the collaboration has involved a lot of "mutual excitement."

"Microsoft was very enthusiastic about working with us," Daniels said in an interview. "And I have to say, they're doing all the right things: putting stuff on GitHub, making things open source, getting community collaboration and working with relatively small companies."

The Cloud9 IDE runs in the browser and is designed to allow developers to run, debug and deploy Node apps "from anywhere at any time," the company says. The integration of the IDE with Azure has taken a multistep deployment process and trimmed it to a single click within the IDE, Daniels explained. The IDE itself provides such capabilities as syntax highlighting, NPM support, code completion, testing and in-browser debugging.

In his blog, Guthrie called the Cloud9 IDE "one of the de-facto tools for Node developers today."

"We are very excited about the collaboration with Cloud9 and the opportunity to offer both Windows and non-Windows developers an awesome experience developing for Windows Azure," Guthrie wrote.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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