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In the history of computing, 1995 was a crazy time. First Java appeared, then close on its heels came JavaScript. The names made them seem like conjoined twins newly detached, but they couldn’t be more different. One of them is compiled and statically typed; the other interpreted and dynamically typed. That’s only the beginning of the technical differences between these two wildly distinct languages that have since shifted onto a collision course of sorts, thanks to Node.js.

If you’re old enough to have been around back then, you might remember Java’s early, epic peak. It left the labs, and its hype meter pinned. Everyone saw it as a revolution that would stop at nothing less than a total takeover of computing. That prediction ended up being only partially correct. Today, Java dominates Android phones, enterprise computing, and some embedded worlds like Blu-ray disks.

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In the history of computing, 1995 was a crazy time. First Java appeared, then close on its heels came JavaScript. The names made them seem like conjoined twins newly detached, but they couldn’t be more different. One of them is compiled and statically typed; the other interpreted and dynamically typed. That’s only the beginning of the technical differences between these two wildly distinct languages that have since shifted onto a collision course of sorts, thanks to Node.js.

If you’re old enough to have been around back then, you might remember Java’s early, epic peak. It left the labs, and its hype meter pinned. Everyone saw it as a revolution that would stop at nothing less than a total takeover of computing. That prediction ended up being only partially correct. Today, Java dominates Android phones, enterprise computing, and some embedded worlds like Blu-ray disks.

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There have been a handful of times when I thought it would be nice to publish a JavaScript library on NPM. It was either a small library I kept using in different projects or a command-line tool I thought was useful enough to share with coworkers. But every time I started researching the process of building and publishing packages to NPM, I would invariably become overwhelmed.

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A full-stack developer is a jack of all trades and a highly sought-after job candidate. The title implies a breadth of knowledge that can be invaluable to short-staffed startups and big companies managing complex apps alike.

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Long ago in the early days of the Internet, pointing your browser at a URL meant your machine would start up a conversation with one server, and only one—the one connected with that URL. That may still happen if you visit a personal blog, but today all of the major websites and most of the small ones are really constellations of servers, sometimes dozens, sometimes hundreds, and sometimes even thousands.

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JavaScript is used for many different kinds of applications today. Most often, JavaScript works with HTML5 and CSS to build web front ends. But JavaScript also helps build mobile applications, and it has found an important place on the back end in the form of Node.js servers. Fortunately, JavaScript development tools—both editors and IDEs—are rising to meet the new challenges.

Application lifecycle management (ALM) integration in Visual Studio 2017 is very good. I would happily use Visual Studio 2017 as my IDE for JavaScript if I were working primarily on Windows-based computers on projects using Microsoft technologies, especially ones that included Azure deployments and those of enterprise scale.

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JavaScript programmers have many good tools to choose from—almost too many to keep track of. In this article, I discuss 10 text editors with good support for developing with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS, and for documenting with Markdown. Why use an editor for JavaScript programming instead of an IDE? In a word: speed.

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Rahul Mhatre is a developer team lead at Software AG.

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Most anyone who has developed web applications knows the acronym LAMP, which is used to describe web stacks made with Linux, Apache (web server), MySQL (database server), and PHP, Perl, or Python (programming language).

Another web-stack acronym has come to prominence in the last few years: MEAN—signifying a stack that uses MongoDB (database server), Express (server-side JavaScript framework), Angular (client-side JavaScript framework), and Node.js (JavaScript runtime).

[ Getting to know Node? Don’t miss: Node.js tutorial: Get started with Node.js10 JavaScript concepts every Node developer must master.The complete guide to Node.js frameworks7 keys to structuring your Node app. | Keep up with hot topics in programming with InfoWorld’s App Dev Report newsletter. ]

MEAN is one manifestation of the rise of JavaScript as a “full-stack development” language. Node.js provides a JavaScript runtime on the server; Angular and Express are JavaScript frameworks used to build web clients and Node.js applications, respectively; and MongoDB’s data structures are stored in a binary JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format, while its queries are expressed in JSON.

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Node.js Version 11 is now the current release line for the server-side JavaScript environment; it will be supported for six months. Node.js 10, whose first version was released in April 2018, is set to become the Long-Term Service (LTS) release on October 30, 2018, meaning it will generally be supported for 30 months. LTS releases are recommended for production usage.

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