A star is born … well more exactly a Meteor! (v1.0.2 is out)

meteor_logo

Meteor was recently released in its official version 1.0, and this has been long expected by its community of early adopters. If you don’t know what Meteor is, rush to the website https://www.meteor.com and see by yourselves.

In a nutshell Meteor is a new, but very well-funded and production-ready, player on the scene and is one of the few frameworks that takes full-stack approach. Your app runs BOTH on the server and the client (in NodeJS on the server, and in your your browser’s JavaScript engine on the client) and works very holistically together. It also comes bundled with MongoDB (although you can replace this with a bit of tinkering).

Everybody knows Meteor uses NodeJS behind the scene. But does it use NodeJS version in your PATH? Hmmm…. No. Meteor is ultra portable and the developer does not need to know about NodeJS at all. So when you are installing Meteor, it will download something called dev_bundle which has NodeJS and all the NPM modules needed by Meteor. All these modules are pre-compiled for your platform. That makes getting started with Meteor easier and quicker. Is there any problem with this approach? No. This is perfect, you just need to be aware of it, especially if you are planning to bundle several apps.

So why should you consider coding your next web app using Meteor?

  1. Your app will be a real-time one by default, thanks to the power of web sockets through NodeJS
  2. Just like in NodeJS you can code the full stack with just one language: Javascript
  3. You can save a lot of time with smart packages grabbed from the AtmosphereJS site
  4. The community is extremely supportive, and the company very well funded  (Read this)
  5. It’s optimised for developer happiness, and it’s friendly for beginner developers
  6. It inter-operates nicely with other JS libraries such as AngularJS, Famo.us, and more.
  7. It’s clearly ahead of the technical curve, and that reads through their mission statement: “… to build a new platform for cloud applications that will become as ubiquitous as previous platforms such as Unix, HTTP, and the relational database.”

Meteor 1.0

In conclusion, Meteor is extremely interesting and I think they do a lot of things very right – it’s a delight to work with. EVERYONE coding JavaScript should learn it, because it’s proposed the right way, full-stack. But it’s only an option if you’re in the position of replacing your entire stack, client and server (or working from scratch of course). If you already have, say, a web API that you work against, of if you have an existing JavaScript frontend app that you just want to add some structure to, it won’t fit your needs. Then you would probably consider a more versatile approach with ExpressJS as a NodeJS framework and Ionic as a mobile app packager (which I will cover in another post)

Useful links for Meteor resources

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New UX contender: Kendo UI

Kendo UI.NET tools provider Telerik is adding support for tablets in its release of Kendo UI Complete.

Kendo UI is an HTML5, jQuery-based framework for building HTML apps. Todd Anglin, Telerik Vice President of HTML5 Web and Mobile Tools, said in a statement that the new release moves the product beyond mobile phones to help developers create experiences with HTML5 that look native on the iPad and other tablets.

Developers are increasingly using HTML5 tools and Javascript to create products that can run on a wide variety of devices and platforms. Telerik said that Kendo UI’s unified framework utilizes adaptive rendering so that an app’s look-and-feel can automatically adapt to the display and characteristics of “any smartphone or tablet device. Which is certainly true to an extent, as only webkit based browsers are fully supported.

But that’s a nice and worthwhile initiative to bookmark. I particularly like the Kendo UI Dojo, to learn how to use the framework, a neat job. Last but not least, the price point is agressive, at $1,000 per year with unlimited support for the full suite.