Hosting: Competition spurs support and innovation in the cloud
Before Node.js began making serious headway, the only way to run Node.js was to spin it up on bare metal that you owned. That time has long since passed, and cloud providers are now climbing over each other to provide Node.js hosting -- not only support for Node.js in VMs, but full-blown PaaS hosting for Node.js.
Another key change in the way Node.js works with hosts has come with the advent of Docker, the red-hot app containerization technology. Docker provides an easy way to bundle the Node.js runtime with its code, data, and any other associated applications, meaning any dependencies required by the application -- including the specific version of Node needed for it -- don't have to be supported by the host. Docker also provides convenient ways to create Node.js apps and scale them (such as via the open source Deis PaaS). And an NPM package for Docker, dnt, allows Docker to be used to test code against multiple versions of Node.js in parallel.
Given these developments, Node hosting options will likely proliferate going forward. Here, containerization is key, as it makes it possible for developers to run Node.js on host services without the host even supporting the application's Node runtime of choice. But as seen in Amazon's Lambda, support for Node.js can also reap rewards for hosting providers looking to leverage the Node API to build new services and products.
Testing and debugging: The Node.js Achilles' heel
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