Joyent Joins VMware's Community Leads Program To Support Node.js

In an effort to lend its Node.js expertise to VMware's Cloud Foundry project, cloud software and services provider Joyent has signed on to VMware's Community Leads program.

According to Charles Fitzgerald, VMware's platform strategist, the Community Leads program is designed to gather expertise within VMware's growing Cloud Foundry ecosystem.

"The idea is to bring together people with very deep and specific expertise and passion for particular technologies," Fitzgerald said. "We've focused on the frameworks initially, but you'll be seeing more support for other JVM languages in the future."

VMware unveiled its Cloud Foundry project in April, billing it as the industry's first open source Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering and a "new generation of application platform, architected specifically for cloud computing environments." The Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization vendor's nascent PaaS is designed to provide a platform for building, deploying and running cloud apps using Spring for Java developers, Rails and Sinatra for Ruby developers, the Node.js framework, and other JVM languages and frameworks, including Groovy, Grails and Scala.

The role of a Community Lead is to curate a particular set of technologies within that ecosystem, Fitzgerald explained.

"In the case of Node.js, not only is the framework advancing, but there are some things around package management and some other advancements that you'll see brought to Cloud Foundry through this relationship," he said.

San Francisco-based Joyent is the chief commercial sponsor of the open source Node.js server-side JavaScript development environment. The company will provide ongoing updates, direction and community engagement, Fitzgerald said.

Node.js is still early-adopter tech, he allowed, but there's a lot of developer interest in the framework. It's currently gaining a lot of traction in mobile application development, said James Watters, VMware's group manager of Cloud Foundry ecosystem and business development.

"Almost every company that's doing interesting mobile work is experimenting with Node because it's a much cheaper way of driving events," Watters said.

"And we've supported Node.js from day one," Fitzgerald added. "This formalizes that relationship." Node.js creator Ryan Dahl actually joined VMware onstage for the Cloud Foundry announcement last spring.

Node.js has been called "the new Ruby on Rails." It's based on Google's V8 JavaScript engine, and it provides a JavaScript API for accessing network and file systems. Unlike other JavaScript, which executes in the Web browser, Node.js runs on the server side.

Members of the Joyent team have posted some preliminary plans for improving and expanding Node.js support on Cloud Foundry in the company blog. "One of our first contributions will be to add full server side support for NPM to the project," they wrote. NPM is the package manager used to install and publish Node.js programs.

Joyent is the third company to join the Community Leads program. Active State Software, which brings its Python expertise to the project, and AppFog, which adds its PHP know-how, joined earlier this year. 

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].