Review: Building Web Applications Using Node.js

DC ALT.NET’s presentation “Building Web Applications Using Node.js” by Troy Goode and Seth Carney was dense, but about as concise as could be expected considering the topic.  They began with an introduction that included how to install and configure Node.  Thereafter, they demoed the code for their shopping cart web app (called express lane), from setting up the server to adding items to the inventory.

That may sound straightforward enough, but they also covered deploying a Node app to Heroku (a cloud platform as a service), leveraging the Express framework to build a web server, implementing Twitter Oauth for authentication, storing data in a MongoDB database, using the Jade template engine to render HTML, using CoffeeScript to decrease the amount of JavaScript code needed, and using Mocha for Node testing.  They finished their presentation by discussing when Node should be used and best practices for its use, including the use of a module pattern to prevent banana code.

As a Node newbie with sufficient JavaScript skills, this was definitely immersion style learning for me.  It’s a credit to both Troy and Seth, particularly the organization and clarity of their demo, that I was able to understand their process.  With more than forty attendees, this event was well-attended, and worthwhile, even considering the post-presentation research required to fully appreciate the frameworks and technologies used.

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