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Node.js is the cool kid on the coding block these days, and developers have big plans for the server-side programming language. The language is a JavaScript-based language celebrated for its lightweight efficiency and scalability.

It’s the language currently en vogue for many apps and modern websites, and it’s not hard to see why: the language excels at handling interactivity because it is capable of managing a high number of connections with quick output (as opposed to traditional languages that funnel all connections through one line). Still not sure how this works? Here are a couple of the cool back-end programs that developers have been cooking both using Node and for Node developers:

  1. Node-Red

An open-source project presented by IBM’s Nick O’Leary in early May, Node-Red is a node-based project has an eye towards developing the infrastructure for the “Internet of Things.” O’Leary is a member of IBM’s Emerging Technology Team, and the group project is essentially a browser that can process data from APIs, online services, and physical devices to create interesting physical visualizations.

At the QCon in London, O’Leary demo’d the product’s range and speed by creating a stream of tweets with #qconlondon while simultaneously allowing the software to perform a sentiment analysis and putting the positive tweets on an LCD screen. The Node-Red team hopes to create a Node environment where users can implement a series of “IFTTT”-esque commands to combine and analyze data from quality APIs.

The project’s code is available on GitHub for the handy and curious.

  1. Atom Editor

Speaking of GitHub, the programming community recently released a free and open programmable text editor for download to the general public. Thanks to its build in Node.js and therefore written in JavaScript, the text editor has one major sales point: it can easily extend functionality using code written in JavaScript or CoffeeScript.

There are of course other players in the Node.js-based editor field — however, most competitors offer one major disadvantage — with programs like Sublime Text, the user must pay for the product.

  1. Kraken

Paypal is just one major corporate player that seems to understand that Node is the way of the future for easily scaling businesses online.

The online payment service moved its applications from Java to Javascript and Node.js in 2013, and in early May, the company open-sourced Kraken, a web application framework for Node.js that adds an extra layer of security and scalability for working with large teams like the engineering team at PayPal.

PayPal emphasizes that its software not only makes Node more polished for commercial-grade applications, but gives beginners the freedom to focus on the functionality rather than the basic framework of their applications.

Kraken’s code is available for use and perusal to the open-source community on GitHub.

  1. NodeSource

A startup looking to capitalize on the Node craze, NodeSource aims to bring a touch of human expertise to companies looking not to miss out on the latest wave in technology. As we reported in late May, the company is providing two major products on launch: npm, a registry where developers can publish and share modules, as well as N Ship, which provides support for deployment of node apps.

The company plans to be fully decentralized, offering their support to companies around the globe. NodeSource will provide both software support and advice on how to engage with the open source community for clients, according to its website. It will also maintain an open Airbnb account for its developers to find a couch to crash on wherever their globe-trotting leads them.

  1. npm, Inc.

npm, the Node package manager, is a core technology that makes Node work.  Isaac Schlueter, the guy who stepped in and led Node when its creator backed out a couple of years back, created npm and worked at Joyent, the corporate steward of Node.js. Now, Schleuter runs npm, Inc., a company that’s all about these packaged open source modules. To build out the tech, Schlueter & company teamed up with a roster of Node superheroes and nerd celebrities: Raquel Vélez, CJ Silverio, Jacques Marneweck.

“npm is absolutely critical to Node.js’s success and the success of the Node ecosystem,” said Schlueter in a recent interview with VentureBeat. “I’m not going to be modest: It’s one of Node’s killer features; it’s created the explosion around Node. You don’t have to get approval from a cabal of developers to get your stuff up and running.”

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