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IBM Acquires StrongLoop to Drive Node.js Usage

Signaling a major shift in how IBM (IBM) plans to go about both building and integrating applications, IBM today announced it has acquired StrongLoop, a provider of application development framework based on Node.js that makes use of JavaScript running on both the client and server to execute code.

Michael Vizard

September 10, 2015

2 Min Read
IBM Acquires StrongLoop to Drive Node.js Usage

Signaling a major shift in how IBM (IBM) plans to go about both building and integrating applications, IBM today announced it has acquired StrongLoop, a provider of application development framework based on Node.js that makes use of JavaScript running on both the client and server to execute code.

Beyond the fact the IBM is now essentially treating Node.js as an equal to Java in terms of the level of support it provides, Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Middleware for IBM Systems, said the effort IBM plans to make to unify the management of Java and Node.js applications via its WebSphere middleware platform will advance the usage of both Node.js and Java across the enterprise.

In general, Java has been relied on to build backend applications that are fairly monolithic. In contrast, Node.js is being rapidly adopted to build a new generation of applications based on a lighter weight microservices architecture that makes extensive use of containers such as Docker, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and REST application programming interfaces (API).

Wieck said that going forward IBM anticipates that there will continue to be a lot of application development in Java. But applications written in Node.js also will increasingly access backend services developed in Java via the IBM Websphere middleware platform and the IBM Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment running on the IBM SoftLayer cloud.

Node.js is one of the foundational technologies of the “API Economy” being driven by the need to quickly integrate applications primarily using REST APIs. In fact, millions of developers have already voted with their feet in terms of making use of JavaScript in general and Node.js in particular to develop mobile, Web and now a new generation of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. All told, IBM is forecasting the API economy will represent a $2.2 trillion opportunity by 2018.

StrongLoop CEO Juan Carlos Soto added that the microservices architectures driving the API Economy will not only reduce the cost of switching out IT services, but also substantially reduce the cost of building and deploying new innovative IT services.

Whether Node.js will one day supplant Java as the “lingua franca” for building the next generation of enterprise applications remains to be seen. But the one thing is that for certain is that solution providers are going to see a lot more instances of Node.js not only now, but also for many more years to come.

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About the Author(s)

Michael Vizard

Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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