Goodbye Php, Hello Node.js!

Summer 2013

The start of summer ‘13 saw a shift in my career. Near twelve years in the making to become a Php developer, twelve years that started in my bedroom. From building bit torrent sites, practicing with the latest MVC frameworks, getting through several years of study and a few in the actual industry, I took a chance to become a ninja.

I’ve done a bit of JavaScript, obviously being a web developer, but never really understood the language and it’s nature. I never stopped to think about the simplicity of the prototypal inheritance it offers, or just how great closures are.

Losing interest

Developing with Php unless you’re creating frameworks, libraries or being part of a community I found had become stale. 9 times out of 10 a company will have their own framework which for as long as they are making money they’re not going to pay you to change. Which had disheartened me a little as all that was left was configuration, form processing, chopping up HTML and populating a CMS. Not really the forefront of inovation.

Hello, Node.js!

I follow the movement of Web technologies religiously and one that was making alot of noise was Node.js. I know that server side JavaScript has been around since the 90s but it was in fact Php that introduced me to it. When I was creating a simple CMS in Symfony2 I was using it’s Assetic Bundle for pre-compiling Less. Like any curious developer I wanted to know what to see how Kris Wallsmith (author) had created such a bundle. Yep you guessed it, Node.js!

After playing with Node.js for the guts of a few months I slowly realised that I began to fall for its asynchronous environment. Writing web applications become faster, more modular and easier to understand. No more large frameworks with steap learning curves, just lots of small libraries combined that can be used, re-shaped and augmented. Between Php and Node.js it was becoming a case of:

Anything you can do I can do better,
I can do anything better than you.

Annie – Annie Get Your Gun

New language, new career

Over the past 6 months I’ve been working with Node.js and within a team of JavaScript engineers creating libraries and frameworks on embedded systems. JavaScript in Belfast is now a high demand and I suspect it’s not going to go down anytime soon. The switch in career has been a gamble that has paid off.