I know I need it for stuff. I can install–and even update–it and use it in apps I’m building. Had no idea why I needed it or what it was doing. So I googled with no mercy until the Internet surrendered it’s secret.
Didn’t Help (you can skip this)
First, let me say this didn’t really help:
Wikipedia told me, “In software development, Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side Web applications” which equally unhelpful. I wish I knew what a “runtime environment” was. I know I’ve used other runtime environments as well but don’t know what the phrase means. Obviously, I look shizzle up but the explanations never enlighten me.
Stack Overflow gave my least favorite response–“that’s not a good enough question to bother answering.”
Bill the Illuminati Lizard Overlord‘s other reason for closing it reminds me of things I say to my children, “Every time we play this game you do nothing but fight.”
PostFuturist‘s answer (StackOverflow, above)–especially the first two points–are incredibly helpful, however. Just by stating it is an alternative to Ruby, Python, and Perl — let alone adding it is “much faster” is great. The Tampa Node JS meeting I attended the other night also mentioned the “thousands of concurrent connections with minimal overhead on a single process” bit as well.
What really inspired this post o’ mine was this Reddit post (Reddit, for my money, is one of the best programming resources in all of webness).
In addition to the clear and thorough yet concise answer, I’d like to bring to your attention the bottom comment by LurnRuby. At Tampa Node, I learned about the new debugging console in Node v6. Thought I’d pass that along.
I also loved Dmitry Nutels‘ recent Smashing Magazine article, “Server-Side Rendering With react, Node and Express” if for no other reason than he defined isomorphism for me.