Let me apologize up front for the terrible title. I have been recently inspired.
I met some fantastic people at the fantastic Keeping It Realtime Conference last week. The speakers were great. The conversations were fantastic. The parties were fun. I will go again next year. There was so much information to consume that I am just now sorting some of it out. In my mind, the experience plays backs like ten thousand snapshots in rapid succession. A blur of events, conversations, people, code, and crappy wifi. A couple of faces stand out: the crew from Microsoft, Paul Batum, Glenn Block, and of course Scott Hanselman. They left a big impression on me. Not because I was in shock that Microsoft was actually represented at this event (though I was), or that these guys were deep behind enemy lines (you should have seen the mac/win ratio), or because they were all wickedly smart (they were). No, it was that Microsoft seems to be genuinely making a go of supporting node on Windows and it actually looks pretty good.
Okay. So what does this have to do with base jumping wingsuit insanity? Well, dear reader, not much. But I’ll try and tie it back. If you browse back through my archives or follow me on twitter, you will get a lot of Linux and node content. But every so often, something Windowsy slips through. You see, the truth is: I am .NET developer. Or at least I used to be. Now, I manage a team of developers–a mixed team. We are about 50/50 .NET and Django with a sprinkle of node on top. Our various products have to integrate with each other and I make platform decisions on a daily basis where I am pitting a Windows stack against a Linux one. In short, I “grind the crack” between them. But without the wingsuit and inevitable spectacular death.
Back to the conference. At the opening event, I met Glenn and Paul. I had a great discussion with them about where my team is and where we are going. I like node and I see some great use cases for it in our business. At one point, Glenn asked me, “What would it take to you get you choose windows?” I answered that it was probably too late for us, “We have node programs running on Linux. Why would we switch?” I told him that I wholeheartedly supported node on Windows for the good of the node community, but that we were already past the point of needing it ourselves.
Fast forward two days. I make sure to attend Glenn’s and Tomasz’s talk on node for Windows (the main point behind the recent 0.6.X release by the way). I didn’t expect to hear anything I wasn’t already aware of. And I was surprised. Floored even. They have actually done a great job creating a Windows “story” for node. They want you to run node with IIS. If you do that, you get some pretty awesome stuff for free:
- built-in process management ala forever
- load balancing between node processes
- graceful auto-refresh of the node process when code changes
- remote node-inspector (hell yes!)
- logs over http
We were already planning on using node and WebSockets to bring some realtime features to our ASP.NET MVC app and Microsoft just made my life simpler. Glenn: you got me back (at least partly). I am excited to see what you guys do next.