Production Ready Node.js 8.9.0 Brings Elegant Coding and Up to 20% Performance Boost in Web Applications

By October 31, 2017Press Release

Node.js 8 Moves into LTS Release Line and New JavaScript Features Improve Stability, Speed and Simplicity

SAN  FRANCISCO, October 31, 2017 The Node.js Foundation, a community-led and industry-backed consortium to maintain a sustainable ecosystem for the open source Node.js platform, today announced Node.js 8 is ready for production as it transfers into the de facto Long-Term Support release line. Node.js 8 is one of the biggest releases from the Node.sjs community to date from a feature perspective and is up to 20% faster than its predecessor Node.js 6 (source nearForm) in typical web applications. Along with major performance enhancements, the release also eases the ability to maintain larger codebases and makes Node.js more accessible to those looking to transfer from other languages.

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment used for enterprise applications, robotics, API toolkits, highly scalable serverless applications, and much more. Its lightweight architecture and modularity allow it to power some of the most widely used websites and services like Netflix, Airbnb, Twitter, PayPal, Walmart, Yahoo! and more. With nearly 9 million instances of Node.js online everyday, the platform is a key driver in digital transformation and is quickly becoming the de facto platform for serverless, microservice-based and containerized workloads.  

“A top priority for enterprises is to ensure applications are performant. New features like HTTP/2 and the latest V8 JavaScript Engine deliver the performance global organizations require to run their business at scale,” said Mark Hinkle, Executive Director of the Node.js Foundation. “Node.js builds are growing faster than ever thanks to the long-term support strategy, and the large and active community that includes 13 working groups, 21 members of the Technical Steering Committee, and more than 1,700 contributors to Node.js united under the Node.js Foundation.”

“OpenTable relies on Node.js for front-end, API and full-stack development. It has increased our developer output and general workflow,” said Thomas Hunter, Principal Software Engineer at OpenTable. “We look forward to upgrading to Node.js 8 for the performance increases and the elegant coding that new features like Async Await provide.”

“Node.js 8 cut our web response by 70 percent across the board and unlocks ES7 features to let us write simpler, more maintainable code,” said Connor Peet, Senior Software Engineer at Mixer, a live streaming website.

Performance Enhancements Across Web and Enterprise Applications

Node.js 8 is equipped with V8 JavaScript Engine 6.1. The new V8 engine comes with Turbofan and the Ignition pipeline, which leads to lower memory consumption and faster startup time across Node.js applications. Early testing finds Node.js 8 is up to 20% faster than Node.js 6 in typical web applications (testing from nearForm) with some users seeing a cut in web response time by 70 percent according to Mixer, a live streaming website.

HTTP/2, which is subject to future changes, allows developers to use the new protocol to speed application development. HTTP/2 allows JavaScript developers to undo many of HTTP/1.1 workarounds to make applications faster, simpler and more powerful.  

Community Collaboration Brings Added Stability to Node.js

The V8 team, a group in charge of Google’s open source high-performance JavaScript engine, now prioritizes Node.js alongside Chromium ensuring V8 cannot be upgraded if it crashes Node.js, which means less strain on the Node.js maintainer community, added stability and earlier adaption of ESNext features. Together with Node.js’ Long Term support (LTS) releases, this stability is crucial for many businesses when adopting Node.js in an enterprise setting.

Node.js API (N-API), a stable module API that is independent from changes in V8, is available in Node.js 8 – it is still under experimental status. This technology was created in collaboration with Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, nearForm, NodeSource and individual contributors. It allows native modules to run against newer version of Node.js without recompilation. This frees package maintainers from having to update these dependency, creates more stability and opens up choice for those consuming modules. It also sets the foundation for VM neutrality and opening Node.js up to new environments in IoT, mobile and a variety of different systems.

Async / Await Bring Elegant Coding and More

Async / Await is fully supported in Node.js 8, which allows developers to write more linear code as opposed to call backs, which appeals to JavaScript newcomers and those moving from languages like C# to Node.js. It also appeals to those maintaining large code bases.

Experimental ES Modules

First standardized in 2015, ES Modules are a standard way of writing modular JavaScript code that can run on both the Web and in Node.js. In Node.js 8.x LTS, experimental ES Module implementation will allow developers to begin to experiment with the standardized module pattern in Node.js while the team works on first-class support.

Node.js has traditionally used the CommonJS pattern for module loading, which will continue to be the default behavior of Node.js in during the 8.x LTS.

Introducing Node.js 9

Node.js 9 is for developers that are interested in testing and experimentation. This release focuses on adding and testing new bleeding-edge features and is frequently updated. Therefore, it is not recommended for those using Node.js in production.

The bulk of changes in this new release involve the deprecation or removal of legacy APIs. In addition, Node.js core codebase is slowly migrating to a new error system. The goal of this migration is to associate a unique code with all errors thrown by Node.js. This will allow error messages to be changed without being considered breaking. It will also make user code more robust by not relying on error messages. More on the Node.js release line strategy here.

Contributors for this release of Node.js came from Alibaba, GoDaddy, Google, IBM, Intel, Joyent, Microsoft, nearForm, NodeSource and a number of individuals. There are 13 working groups, 21 members of the Technical Steering Committee, and more than 1,700 contributors to Node.js with more than 40K stars on GitHub. Node.js 10 is planned for April 2018 and will go under the Node.js LTS release status in October 2018.

Additional Resources

About the Node.js Foundation

Node.js is used by tens of thousands of organizations in more than 200 countries and amasses nearly 9 million instances per day. It is the runtime of choice for high-performance, low latency applications, powering everything from enterprise applications, robots, API engines, cloud stacks and mobile websites.

The Foundation is made up of a diverse group of companies including Platinum members IBM, Intel, Joyent, Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat. Gold members include GoDaddy, PayPal, and NodeSource, and Silver members include Bitnami, Cars.com, Chef, Codefresh, Dynatrace, Fidelity, Groupon, HackerOne, Keymetrics, ^Lift Security, Profound Logic, nearForm, npm, RisingStack, Sauce Labs, SAP, Snyk, SafetyCulture, YLD and Yahoo!. Get involved here: https://nodejs.org.