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Microsoft commits to Windows makeover for Node.js

Embraces open source dev darling

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Microsoft is helping refine Node.js for use on Windows and its Azure cloud.

Redmond is working with cloud computing vendor Joyrnt to port Node to Windows, a move that will produce a Node.exe, according to a post on the Node blog. Joyent employs Node.js creator Ryan Dahl.

Web host turned cloud champion Rackspace is also helping with the port.

The Node.exe will not just work on Microsoft's fledgling Amazon cloud challenger Azure, but also with versions of Windows going as far back as Windows Server 2003.

The move to .exe requires "rather large modification of the core structure, [so] we're very happy to have official guidance and engineering resources from Microsoft," according to the Node blog

Node.js is one of many platforms that bring JavaScript programming to the server side. It's an event-driven input/output framework based on the V8 JavaScript engine at the heart of Google's Chrome browser. Rather than execute code in the browser, Node.js executes on the server, and it's designed specifically for real-time web applications.

Why would Microsoft work with a programming framework that juices a JavaScript engine used by a rival browser maker? Node.js is getting some serious traction among the developerati, and Microsoft want to ensure that coders run it on Windows. Node.js was built for Linux systems, and while it does run on Windows, it requires fiddling to do so. Microsoft believes it's time to stop the fiddling and make Node.js install and perform straight from download.

Microsoft has worked with open-source projects in the past. It has worked on improving the performance of PHP and MySQL on Windows, for instance, and it has worked with Soyatech to build Eclipse plug-ins to Visual Studio for its Silverlight media player.

Microsoft will hope that open-source web apps using Node.js are deployed on Windows servers rather than Linux. But It will also hope that some of the early Node.js fandom will translate into developer uptake for Azure, which is providing a tough sell against Amazon. ®

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