Node.js – Nodejs vs SignalR: why do we need server-side javascript


Since I've known about Node.js, I've always been a fan of it. But today I found about SignalR, which provides an alternative asynchronous – scalable – realtime model for ASP.NET.

As far as I know, the main advantage of Node.js over SignalR is sharing code between client-server (another advantage should be that it is cross-platform), and the main advantage of SignalR is a much more mature framework and far better tool (IDE) support. So I wonder: if SignalR is here, do we need Node.js on Windows anymore? Are there any advantages of Node.js I don't know?

Best Solution

SignalR is a viable alternative to Socket.IO and Node.js. There are other reasons to use javascript on the server however.

  1. It flattens the stack. Almost any website these days has to have javascript on the browser, and if you use it on the server as well, you can cut one language out of the batch that you'll have to be proficient in.

  2. Message passing is very natural. JSON Everywhere! Especially combined with a document database which uses JSON, all message passing just becomes JSON objects. This makes reduces the amount of message brokering that has to happen throughout the system.

  3. It's not Microsoft. I personally love what Microsoft has done for the development community. They make fantastic tools and one of the best frameworks and languages around. That being said, some people just love to hate Microsoft.

  4. Cost. There are many good ways to get Microsoft tools for free or very cheap (Express editions and Biz Spark). There is still a higher cost associated with working with Microsoft tools. I believe this cost is worth the productivity gains in most instances, but not everyone agrees.

In addition to the above, there is still the story going around that you can't scale long polling requests on IIS due to the threading model. This has some truth to it, but with good code design, and some server tweaks, you can mostly get around these problems.