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JavaScript in the Enterprise

Over five years ago some argued that Facebook and HipHop would make PHP a viable development option for the Enterprise. That did not happen - at least not directly. Many enterprises run Drupal and other PHP tools, but not in core mission critical tasks.

SaaS platforms like Salesforce and Yammer have enabled other platforms to sneak in, but not take over the back office. While PHP is a stable platform with plenty of life in it, it won't be replacing many of the proprietary large core applications like SAP. When you've been building a system for decades and your business is it, in the travel industry for example, the risk of switching and amount of integration work to be done is simply overwhelming.

Since the rise of Open Source and Corporate IT as a big business the development world has been split into two:

In restaurant terms these are analogous to your local Joe's burger joint and McDonalds. The small shop can move much faster and try different ideas, but it can't really own them. So the large corporations can (and will) take the good ideas into use on a large scale and will eat you alive. The small business is forced to innovate continuously - Joe must invent something new. Now, compare this to the rise and fall of Agile.

Stereotypically putting it the hackers and enthusiasts do it for the love of the sport, while the industrial developers do it only for the money. In reality software development is such a creative industry that to even get into the field you've been interested in what you're doing - at some point in time.

The corporate employee has just more likely gotten cynical and is doing more work fighting the organization rather than performing the task. Add the complex and sometimes downright terrible software to the mix and it's hard to love what you do from day to day. But to these developers the rise of JavaScript in the Enterprise is a chance to find that love again.

JavaScript on the server side with Node.js is a relatively new phenomenon, but it's gaining momentum rapidly in the Enterprise for integrations to Web Service integrations and Internet of Things (IoT) implementations. The legacy systems are the stable bedrock for tools that compromise on data integrity (MongoDB) and stability (Node.js).

The old stable enterprise systems are not going anywhere, but they are being layered underneath a modern, slick layer of JavaScript. It's similar to banking systems - they're still working on age old Cobol, etc. but top layers allow the excellent iOS and Android Mobile apps we've all come to love. Joyent is promoting Walmart and Node.js in this specific type of case.

In addition to using JavaScript as an integration tool it's a fully fledget Windows Application Development Language since Windows 8.Windows Runtime (WinRT) application can be written in pure JavaScript and use C++ and it's libraries for specific functions. In Windows 10Microsoft enables JavaScript to be a scripting language for Windows itself. The ancient looking and feeling batch files might soon look a lot more familiar.

Microsoft has been synonymous with Enterprise IT for decades. As of late they have truly embraced Open Source with JavaScript, Node.js, Git version controlOpen Sourcing .NET, etc. It can be argued that Microsoft now has the best JavaScript development tools in the industry. With the complete Visual Studio tool package enterprise developers will be right at home. For the enthusiast developers they now offer the fee Visual Studio Code editor for Windows, Linux and OS X.

Traditionally deploying PHP or other Open Source projects has been a pain in Windows. Windows developers have shunned these tools because it has made them feel like second class citizens. Which they have been. But with JavaScript and Node.js it all changes: Node.js deployment as a DLL to IIS (Internet Information Server) is a snap.

It used to be quite hard to get in and out of a specific realm. If you knew .NET or Enterprise Java you were not hired by web development shops because of your background. Same in reverse for PHP and JavaScript developers - you don't have the Enterprise chops, bro!

With JavaScript becoming a Lingua franca of the IT world, it'll make it possible for hipster hackers to the jump to the Enterprise and Enterprise developers to sleek start-up style Microservices and consume REST APIs in the Enterprise.

JavaScript has already taken user interface development by storm by sandboxed Web Components.  Facebook's latest product development definitely have Enterprise Appeal. XHP allows writing efficient user interface components with Hack, React and XHP. Write once, run everywhere... hmmm...

Guaranteed good times ahead for the Enterprise developers and Hackers alike!

More reading on Enterprise JavaScript:

Written by Jorgé on Monday July 13, 2015

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