Node.js is looking like a great match for WebRTC, but is that really the case?
Chris Matthieu, founder of Twelephone shared his view here once about Node.js and WebRTC, indicating the great match they make together. There are some other viewpoints as well.
The WebRTC Conference & Expo in Atlanta was a great event. Besides meeting a lot of interesting people, it has given me a lot to think about. In the “Node.js and MongoDB” panel during the conference, Vidtel’s Alex Doyle and Solaborate’s Labinot Bytyqi explained their use of the technology. Something that struck me as interesting was how both are viewing Node.js as an interim solution at best.
Both Vidtel and Solaborate are using Node.js in the backend for WebRTC signaling and nothing more – the rest of their system uses other technologies. Both have mentioned that they have opted for Node.js due to the rapid development it provides – being in a dynamic environment such as WebRTC required them to be agile enough and act fast, so Node.js was their technology of choice.
I asked them a question during the panel, of how they plan on tackling fast growth in their usage an user base, and what part will Node.js take in such a case. I was rather surprised by their answers.
Alex Doyle of Vidtel raised his concern and hesitation from using something based on Java Script in the backend that can solidly scale and work in a robust manner. He plans on switching from Node.js to something else if and when Vidtel sees an uptake in WebRTC use in their service.
Labinot Bytyqi of Solaborate stated that they are running on Windows Azure cloud, which was interesting – somehow, Node.js didn’t strike me as a Windows type of a solution. He also stated that he sees Node.js as an interim solution and that they are pursuing some other options, based on Windows technologies that Microsoft might soon have available in Azure. Being part of the Microsoft ecosystem anyway, I guess it makes sense.
I am torn here. I once thought that Node.js is a fad – something that worked for front end developers who wanted to do some backend programming. When I researched a bit further, and saw so many WebRTC companies adopting it, I changed my mind. But do I need to change my mind again?
Is Node.js just a way to get to market fast and then throw away the moment there some more cash available to invest in a real solution?
If you are reading this, and know Node.js, and even use it – I’d love to hear your thoughts:
Node.js – a robust addition to WebRTC or a temporary “patch” for the lean startup?