Engine Yard Labs Launches with Node.js Support

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Node.js logo Platform-as-a-Service vendor Engine Yard is launching Engine Yard Labs, a service with experimental support for development stacks the company is not yet ready to fully support. The first language being offered as part of the Labs project is Node.js. You can sign-up for access to Node.js on Engine Yard here.

Engine Yard’s strategy for the stacks it supports – Ruby/Ruby on Rails, JRuby and PHP – has been based on deep expertise on the part of the company’s employees. The company employed Ruby on Rails core developer Yehuda Katz from 2008-2010, and is the sponsor of JRuby. Engine Yard acquired Orchestra for the team’s deep expertise in PHP. But as the need to support more development stacks increases, the company needs a training yard for experimenting with an developing expertise in different languages. That’s where Engine Yard Labs comes in.

Engine Yard labs will enable the company to grow expertise internally while working with its developer community to learn what it should or shouldn’t support. VP Technology Dr. Nic Williams says that acquisitions or additional hires would be considered if/when Engine Yard decides to offer full support for Node.js.

Node.js is a server-side implementation of JavaScript that takes advantage of Google’s V8 engine. It was first released in 2009 and has had a meteoric rise in popularity. It’s loved by developers for two reasons:

1. It enables developers to write both client side and server side code in the same language.
2. Applications written in Node.js can handle large numbers of simultaneous connections, making it good for applications with a lot of back and forth communication.

It’s also notable that developers use Node.js to build their own Web servers instead of using Apache or Ngnix. The basic “Hello World” exercise for Node.js involves creating a very simple Web server. Express is the most popular development framework for the language.

Joyent hired Node.js creator Ryan Dahl last year and became the sponsor of the project. Joyent has its own Node.js PaaS called no.de, and many other companies including Nodejitsu, Heroku and dotCloud have at least beta support for Node.js.

NodeSummit is a new event dedicated to Node.js and will be held January 24-25, 2012 in San Francisco.