Introduction to Node.js, v3

History of Node.js

Scott Moss

Scott Moss

Superfilter AI
Introduction to Node.js, v3

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The "History of Node.js" Lesson is part of the full, Introduction to Node.js, v3 course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Scott summarizes Node.js as a JavaScript runtime used outside of web browsers. Created by Ryan Dahl in 2009, it overcame web browser limitations and server-side scripting inefficiencies.


Transcript from the "History of Node.js" Lesson

>> Let's get started. We already talked about takeaways and things like that. Let's start with the history of Node. So, I think it's important to see where Node has come and how we got here. It's just a bunch of stuff here, but I'm just gonna describe it in my own way.

Node.js is basically just an environment in which you can run JavaScript outside of the browser. That's where it started, right? If you think of languages like Python, Ruby, PHP, these are operating system languages. These are languages that run directly on your computer. You can run those programs through your terminal.

Before Node.js came out, you couldn't do that with JavaScript. JavaScript was only a language that could be run in a browser. It was considered a kiddy language. People didn't really take it seriously because it was like, you get to make a scrolling thing on my space page or something.

No one took it seriously until Node.js came out. Some guy named Ryan got really sick of Not having JavaScripts on his computer, so he made Node.js, which basically was like a fork of V8 which at the time was Google's engine that they created to to run JavaScript in the Chrome browsers.

So he took that engine and stuck it on a computer, and that's Node.js. So there were some differences though, right? The browser version of JavaScript has access to things that are only useful in a browser like a DOM, CSS, things like that. Whereas when you're running something on a computer, there is no visual output other than a terminal, so there's no need for a DOM or CSS or things like that.

So that's where the differences are. But Node.js itself is not a language. It's an environment, it's a runtime. The language itself is JavaScript. So if you know JavaScript, then you already know 90% of Node.js. It's literally the same language. Just some slight differences and capabilities on what you can do with it.

So we'll cover a lot of that. But it's been around since 2009, and since then, it's been adopted by the community. As you know, every hosting provider supports Node.js. It's probably one of the most popular server-side frameworks or server-side runtimes out there, and it's currently on version 18, which is what we'll be using today.

So if you don't have that, don't worry about it. We'll go through my preferred method on how to install it. And there was a time where people thought Node.js was gonna die, like back when it was like on version 0.12, it kinda stagnated and there was no traction.

So the community got fed up and like forked it and they made this thing called IO.js. That was so long ago. There was this whole thing. So someone made IO.js cuz they got sick of Node.js not being updated. And then that sparked a fire underneath Node.js like, all right, we'll get our shit together, and we'll update our stuff.

So ever since then, there's been a lot of updates. Node.js has adopting a lot of things, there's like a board of smart people that come together and make sure things are up to date, it's following ECMA script, it's in feature parity with things that happening in the browser.

So it's been taken seriously and things are popping off now. So yeah, and today a lot of people use Node.js in production for all different types of things, whether it's like a server, or proxy, build tools. If you've ever used React or any front end framework, 100% uses Node.js to build that framework.

That's the tool that converts your JSX to HTML or JavaScript for the browser, it's node, unless you're using like some new thing that uses Rust which everyone's switching to that today. But still, Node.js is pretty much powers everything in web development at this point, there's really no way around it.

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