Node.js in Windows Azure, to the cloud and beyond!

 

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Node.js is an exciting platform that has been increasing in popularity for the past two years. It offers a server side JavaScript programming model ideal for building highly scalable and performant network applications whether on premise or in the cloud. One of its flagship qualities is that it leads you down a path of writing code that is using non-blocking IO thus achieving greater scale. Another is the fact that it is super small and lightweight. It has a very rich ecosystem of modules like express and socket.io which developers can pull in using the awesome node package manager otherwise known as npm. Thanks to the excellent partnership between Joyent and Microsoft we were able to port Node and NPM on Windows to enable a new class of applications.

At the Learn Windows Azure event, Scott Guthrie announced we’re providing a place in the cloud for Windows Node developers in Windows Azure. Not only that but we’re also making it easy for folks building Node.js applications hosted ANYWHERE to take advantage of Windows Azure services like storage. Along with that announcement, we’ve published a new developer center for Node.js developers and released an early preview of our new Windows Azure SDK for Node.js. And guess what, we’ve released the source to Github and it is under an Apache 2 license. Yes folks it’s open source, start submitting your pull requests! This also means you’ll be seeing frequent updates to the source so you can get the latest and greatest.

The new SDK makes it easy for developers to build, deploy and manage Node applications hosted in Windows Azure using a set of new PowerShell cmdlets! Watch this great short video from Steve Marx to see how to use the cmdlets. The experience fully supports the Windows Azure storage and compute emulator allowing you to easily test your apps locally. If you are a node developer we know you prefer your tools of choice. Having PowerShell cmdlets gives you the flexibility to use whatever editor / tools you want to develop, whether it be Sublime Text, Emacs, Vim or even notepad (no we’re not recommending you develop with notepad, but you have the flexibility to if you wanted to :-) ). The installer gets you going from 0 (Node.js not installed) to 60 (deploying to the cloud) in minutes. It uses the Web Platform Installer to install everything you need including Node.js, npm, iisnode, the Windows Azure Emulators, and the cmdlets.

In addition to the tools, we’ve also published the azure npm package! Today it contains Node APIS allowing you to use Windows Azure Storage Queues, Tables and Blob storage from whether you are running in Windows Azure or not! Check out this very cool video from Nathan Totten showing him building an app using the APIS in 4 minutes and to some funky beats! npm install azure to get started! The module includes several samples in the examples folder and unit tests.

Charles Torre of Channel 9 and I sat down to talk about the work we are doing a few weeks ago which you can listen to below.

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Get started by downloading the SDK here.

Here’s a few more links including several walkthroughs.

This is just the beginning of the work we are doing to provide a great story for Node.js in the cloud. It is a great time to be developing applications on Windows and Windows Azure!

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