Node.js in the real world

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With Node.js yet to reach a major release you may be wondering if it is mature enough for production environments and live projects. Whilst it is also true, in the past, that the Node.js creators have warned off people with mission critical objectives it is now in a much more stable state.

Some well known companies including Plurk, LinkedIn and GitHub are using Node.js to deliver vital parts of their offerings everyday. In the case of Plurk this was a publicised move in January 2010 from Java and JBoss Netty to Node.js for a stated ten fold decrease in memory usage across their application. This version of Plurk is still live today and serving over 100k open connections simultaneously at any given moment.

LinkedIn have employed Node.js to handle the server aspect of their mobile applications. In pre-launch testing they estimated that the switch away from Ruby on Rails would take them from fifteen servers to just one whilst being able to handle over twice the traffic load.

Other companies such as Klout, Transloadit and LearnBoost (the team behind Socket.IO) are betting their main infrastructure on Node.js.

Yahoo! have also experimented with it internally most notably in the Yahoo! Mail and YUI Library groups, but nothing has been publicly launched at this time.

Another notable mention goes to the search engine DuckDuckGo who are using Node.js to power their XMPP bot at im@ddg.gg.

Of course it should also be noted that Node.js has a commercial sponsor of development in the form of Joyent with Node.js creator, Ryan Dahl, on their books. In addition they offer hosting on their SmartMachines service and also organise the Node.js Camp conference.

So even if it is to remain a peripheral technology for you it is well worth keeping an eye on its progress in the future. For the more adventurous it may just become a full time vocation with both Klout and Yahoo! looking for more Node.js engineers at the time of writing.

Note

This article was originally published in the April 2012 issue of .net Magazine.

The accompanying tutorial to create a Google Talk bot with Node.js is also published on my blog.

In tandem with the Google bot tutorial I wrote four smaller articles: