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07 November 2011, 11:23

Native Windows support in Node.js 0.6.0

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Node.js logo The developers of Node.js, the server-side JavaScript application framework, have announced version 0.6.0, the third stable release of the platform. The update brings native Windows support to the platform using Windows I/O Completion Ports to efficiently manage socket communications; Rackspace, Joyent and Microsoft have worked together with the Node.js developers since June to implement Windows support. Previously the platform was Unix I/O-centric and could only run on Windows with the aid of the Cygwin environment.

New to Node.js?

For an introduction to Node.js, consult The H Speed Guide to Node.js which explains what makes the framework so interesting and useful to many developers.

The Windows implementation required a reworking of Node.js's core architecture and generally the I/O performance on Linux has been improved, while startup time has reduced, but there is a regression in write performance, which expected to be fixed in 0.6.1. Windows systems will, though, see "massive improvements" with double or triple throughput and one third the previous startup time thanks to the removal of Cygwin. Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.js, says this is "a good intermediate stage for the Windows port" but there is still work to be done.

Other changes in the release aim to allow easier scaling of Node.js applications and include integrated load balancing for managing a cluster of Node.js instances and better support for IPC (interprocess communications) between running node instances. An improved command line debugger, utilisation of zlib for compression and an upgrade to the V8 JavaScript engine to version 3.6 are other major changes in the release which sees the JavaScript, C++ and binary interfaces frozen as it is a stable branch. The developers will be increasing the speed of their release cycle with a new stable branch due in January, and they plan to synchronise with Chrome and V8's six week cycle in the future.

Users upgrading from Node.js 0.4, the previous stable branch, will find the differences documented. The Node.js 0.6.0 documentation and web site offer further resources. The source for Node.js is available to download, as is a node.exe Windows executable. Node.js is published under the MIT licence.


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