StrongLoop Arc aims to manage the whole Node.js API lifecycle

As we know from the recent dustup around the forking of Node.js, people are passionate about that server-side JavaScript run-time environment. Now StrongLoop, a startup formed to provide commercial support for Node.js, is bringing together several tools to enable Node.js  API creation from inception to deployment all from one console.

The product, StrongLoop Arc, promises a single user interface for composing and managing APIs in Node.js so a developer can design her APIs; connect them to data sources (new or legacy); build and deploy the application.

The product incorporates both updated versions of existing products — for example, StrongLoop Studio for creating the APIs — as well as new capabilities to handle the whole lifecycle of API development, said Issac Roth, StrongLoop co-founder and chief products officer.

“The cool thing is now you can create, deploy and operate your APIs in Node. That was not the case before — you could use [company]New Relic[/company] for monitoring, Node Inspector for inspection, StrongLoop’s own StrongOps for profiling and Chef or Puppet for deployment … We put that all together in a Node-specific way, ” Roth said.

A lifecycle management bundle for REST APIs

Roth acknowledged a possible downside in that this toolset requires the developer to stick to a guided path, but he thinks many developers will accept that. Rest APIs, in his view, are taking over the enterprise, with everyone from [company]Oracle[/company] and [company]IBM[/company] to [company]Apigee[/company] embracing REST as a de facto standard to ensure that web apps can communicate and interoperate with each other.

That means “we sort of need something Microsoftian,” Roth said. [company]Microsoft[/company] is known for bundling development tools into Visual Studio, which has become a single application development tool chest.

But while Visual Studio offers API creation tools and Apigee has a runtime management service for APIs, Roth claimed that no one — until now — has had a total lifecycle offering for APIs.

Products like the popular New Relic target a broader array of platforms and frameworks. If you’re a developer focusing on Node.js, you may want to take a look at StrongLoop Arc but these products are not mutually exclusive, Roth said.

Al Tsang, co-founder and CTO of Strongloop demonstrates Arc.

Al Tsang, co-founder and CTO of StrongLoop, demonstrates Arc.

Mending Node.js fences

As for the Node.js fork fight that erupted a few weeks ago, things have settled down, according to both Roth and Angel Diaz, IBM’s VP of open standards.

The kerfuffle was sparked by “pent-up demand” for a new release. The io.js fork was proposed under a voting governance model, while the Joyent-backed group, with a new advisory board, will deal with vendor backers like IBM, Microsoft and StrongLoop as well as big users like Netflix, Paypal and Walmart.

“We’d like to see a unified community around a single Node technical project, so that’s what we’re working toward in the Node Advisory board and io.js simultaneously. I believe we’re going to get there,” Roth said.

This week Diaz told me that the advisory board is the first step toward opening up the governance of Node.js. Once that happens, “the spigots open and everyone has a transparent way to contribute. The reason all this has happened is that much needs to be done for Node.js to be viable for big customers.”

Fork in the road for Node.js

Node.js, the popular server-side JavaScript environment, may be heading for a fork as a group outside of Joyent has posted its own project on Github.

[company]Joyent[/company] has been the de facto guardian of Node.js for some time, but now another group appears to be backing io.js implementation, according to Infoworld, Wired and other sources this week.

Here’s the blurb from the Github io.js Readme file on the project:

This repository began as a GitHub fork of joyent/node where contributions, releases, and contributorship are under an open governance model.

We intend to land, with increasing regularity, releases which are compatible with the npm ecosystem that has been built to date for node.js.

The feeling among the io.js contingent seems to be that Joyent’s move in October to set up a Node.js Advisory Board came too late to settle differences in how the project is managed. Infoworld’s Paul Krill interviewed io.js contributor Mikeal Rogers about why the group went this route.

No one can say this is a surprise. There’s been angst in Node.js land at least since late last year when a spat erupted between two top Node.js contributors, which caused considerable bad feeling.

Talking to media, Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill downplayed concerns that the dual projects will lead to fragmentation and said Joyent has reached out to the io.js team.

The stakes are high. Node.js has seen great traction in companies including [company]LinkedIn[/company], [company]PayPal[/company], Uber, [company]Yahoo[/company] and [company]The New York Times[/company].

Presumably, none of these Node.js players want that momentum to stall.

Bryan Cantrill at Structure 2014. Credit: Jakub Mosur

Bryan Cantrill at Structure 2014

Photo credit: Jakub Mosur

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