Building Internet Of Things Robots: Microsoft Opens Visual Studio To Node.js

Author

Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor

March 26, 2015

Microsoft’s approach to openness is continuing positively; from a software application development perspective at least. Naysayers will still argue that it’s too little, too late and that it is perhaps ‘too strategically contrived to warrant base-zero validation’ from a purist open source standpoint. But it is increasingly only the purists who are saying this.

After a year of development, the firm this week announced the release of Node.js Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio (NTVS 1.0).

NTVS is a free and open source extension for Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft’s core Integrated Development Environment (IDE), or ‘developer workplace’ if you prefer. Node.js is an open source cross platform runtime environment for building data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices — so think server-side network-level applications.

The term ‘distributed devices’ here very likely or often potentially meaning Internet of Things (IoT) ‘robotic’ machines.

In business-tech non-developer language

So in other words. Microsoft has willingly created software code extensions that open its previously oh-so-proprietary central programming/editing software framework into a place to work with Node.js developer tools. This means that programmers can build cloud/web-type backend applications in Node.js while existing inside Microsoft’s body shop – and so therefore using the firm’s wider set of platform intelligence.

According to the Microsoft Developer Network blog, “Node.js is a platform for building fast, scalable applications using JavaScript. It’s making its way just about everywhere – from servers, to Internet of Things devices, to desktop applications, to who knows what next? Now, with Node.js support in Visual Studio, it’s easier than ever before to develop Node.js applications.”

Fabulous non-blocking I/O

Node.js brings (amongst other things) its fabulous non-blocking Input/Output (I/O) model to govern the way real time input and output threads are managed when events have to happen concurrently in real time.

Robots (or Internet of Things sensor devices that have to function in real time) like this kind of I/O especially as it allows them to really function, anywhere, as much as possible.

Microsoft brings (arguably even more things, including) advanced debugging and profiling, intelligent context-aware ‘IntelliSense’ code completion technology and (to name one more feature from several) npm integration so that NTVS will warn coders when a ‘dependency’ is missing.

This development also notes that NTVS 1.0 supports the free Visual Studio Community and Visual Studio Express for Web editions, as well as Visual Studio Professional and higher.

IoT devices, desktop applications & robotics

“This marks the next major milestone with the NTVS open-source plugin, allowing developers to turn Visual Studio 2012/2013 into a Node.js IDE to build fast, scalable applications using JavaScript. Developers using Node.js can develop for a host of different platforms, including IoT devices, desktop applications, robotics and more,” wrote Sara Itanni, Microsoft software engineer, Node.js tools for Visual Studio, in line with this news.

Microsoft has been an active contributor in the Node.js community and recently joined the Node.js Foundation to advance community engagement relative to Node.js.

Open source treasure trove

Yes of course Microsoft recognizes the value of the open source treasure trove and now wants to be a part of it in a much deeper sense. It may still be some years (or never) before the firm shrugs off the kind of vilifications it inevitably still gets when playing open ball. One imagines it will carry on, openly, regardless – and there has to be an iota of respect for that surely?

This article was written by Adrian Bridgwater from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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