WebMatrix and node.js: The easiest way to get started with node on Windows

Tomasz Janczuk and Steve Sanderson are having entirely too much fun. I posted just two weeks ago on Installing and Running node.js applications within IIS on Windows – Are you mad? when Tomasz and the team got node.js running rather nicely under IIS. Now they’ve got a nice little development environment in WebMatrix.

 

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Installing and Running node.js applications within IIS on Windows ?

First, what’s node.js?

If you’re not familiar with node.js, it’s a new web programming toolkit that everyone’s talking about. It’s the one that makes you feel not hip if you don’t know what it is. Like Ruby on Rails was a few years back. Folks called it “Node” and it’s basically server-side JavaScript. The idea is that if you are doing a bunch of JavaScript on the client and you do JavaScript all day, why not do some JavaScript on the server also. One less thing to learn, I suppose.

If you are an ASP.NET programmer, you can think of node.js as being like an IHttpHandler written in JavaScript. For now, it’s pretty low-level. It’s NOT an HttpHandler, but I’m using an analogy here, OK? Here’s a lovely article by Brett McLaughlin that goes into more detail about Node.js and what it is. His subtitle is “Node isn’t always the solution, but it does solve some important problems” and that’s just exactly it.

 

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Introduction to npm

This was the third in a series of posts leading up to Node.js Knockout on how to use node.js.

npm is a NodeJS package manager. As its name would imply, you can use it to install node programs. Also, if you use it in development, it makes it easier to specify and link dependencies.

Installing npm

First of all, install NodeJS. Like so much of the NodeJS ecosystem, npm is very young, so you’ll generally have to use a very recent version of node in order to use it. At the time of writing this, that means at least version 0.1.103.

To install npm in one command, you can do this:

curl http://npmjs.org/install.sh | sh 

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