Red Hat ditches effort to port Node.js to Java

Sometimes, the best intentions just don't work out.

Such is the case with Red Hat-sponsored Nodyn, an open source effort intended to port the Node.js server-side JavaScript platform to the Java Virtual Machine, bringing Java's rich set of tooling to Node. The project is no longer in active development due to an inability to make the popular JavaScript extensions, npm, work with it, said Mícheál Ó Foghlú, CTO of Red Hat Mobile.

"We took [Nodyn] as far as we could go," he said, adding that without npm, it was difficult for Nodyn to gain traction, as the third-party modules are critical. "The npm JS modules don't necessarily all work in that JVM environment. So it makes it a bit tricky to build up the community and the traction."

Node and Java still can live well together and exchange information via such mechanisms as RESTful API calls, said Ó Foghlú, but Nodyn was never made into any products. People are still able to contribute to the project, even though it has not been moving forward. "[Nodyn is] open source, it's still there but we're not putting so much energy in it. We're putting more energy into Node itself." Red Hat serves as platform sponsors of the Node.js Foundation, which oversees development of the platform.

Red Hat is, however, still interested in the open source Vert.x project, which offers a JavaScript-to-JVM bridge, Ó Foghlú said. An alternative to Node, Vert.x provides a toolkit for applications on the JVM. "What that does is it brings the Node model to some other languages," he said. The Node model would feature Node's lightweight, non-blocking IO architecture. Languages featured in Vert.x include JavaScript, Java, Groovy, Ruby and Ceylon. With code running in the JVM, Vert.x enables use of JVM tooling, Ó Foghlú said.

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