IBM Adds Node.js Debugging to Bluemix

After building up its Node.js expertise with its StrongLoop acquisition, IBM has added Node.js debugging capabilities to its Bluemix PaaS.

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IBM has introduced new capabilities for its Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) that make it faster and easier for developers to debug applications in a cloud environment using popular open-source utilities like node-inspector and tty.js.

These types of open-source utilities are widely used by developers on their local machines, but connecting a debugging tool or other utility in a cloud environment can be challenging and time-consuming, IBM said.

Yet, based on a solution developed by IBM software engineers seeking to debug Node.js applications in Bluemix, this capability is now available to developers through the definition of a single Bluemix variable and a restaging of the application. Developers can access a full description of this capability and how-to instructions in the Bluemix Developers Community blog.

This feature is part of App Management, a set of development and debugging utilities that can be enabled for Liberty and Node.js applications on Bluemix.

IBM launched Bluemix with a $1 billion investment in 2014. Big Blue's open-standards-based Bluemix catalog includes more than 120 tools and services spanning categories of big data, mobile, Watson, analytics, integration, DevOps, security and Internet of things (IoT).

Known for its history of acquiring technology to supplement its platforms, IBM last month acquired Node.js specialist StrongLoop to bolster its Node.js expertise. There are approximately 11 million JavaScript and Node.js developers, and IBM is investing in the technology.

In fact, IBM is a founding member and current platinum member of the Node.js Foundation, while StrongLoop employs many of the top contributors within the community and is an active sponsor and evangelist for Node.js. And an IBM executive was recently appointed to the board of directors at the Node.js Foundation.

StrongLoop provides tools to help developers connect enterprise applications to mobile, IoT and Web applications in the cloud. The company also provides DevOps tools. StrongLoop's application development software enables developers to build applications using APIs. APIs are pieces of software that act as technology glue for integrating applications, data and business processes that connect businesses with customers, partners and employees.

"Enterprises are focused on digital transformation to reach new channels, tap new business models, and personalize their engagement with clients," said Marie Wieck, general manager of middleware for IBM Systems, in a statement. "APIs are a critical ingredient. By bringing together StrongLoop's Node.js capabilities to rapidly create APIs with IBM's leadership in Java and API Management on our cloud platform, we are unlocking the innovation potential of two vibrant development communities."

IBM will integrate StrongLoop's Node.js capabilities with its software portfolio, which includes MobileFirst and WebSphere, to help developers better use enterprise data and conduct transactions whether in the cloud or on-premises. These new capabilities will enable developers to build scalable APIs, and to more easily connect existing back-end, enterprise processes with front-end mobile, IoT and Web apps in an open, hybrid cloud.

"With this acquisition, the industry benefits from Node.js' formal entry into the mainstream enterprise," said Juan Carlos Soto, CEO of StrongLoop, in a statement. "As one of the leaders in the Node.js open community, together we plan to further advance open, community-driven innovation coupled with global, enterprise class software and services offerings to grow client value in the API economy."

In other Bluemix news, IBM recently delivered Bluemix Local, which brings the speed and ease of app development on Bluemix behind an organization's firewall. New capabilities of Bluemix Local include Relay technology, created by IBM cloud development teams, that ensures all cloud environments remain current. Relay can instantly sync updates across environments, allowing enterprises to experience the same cloud, content and visibility, regardless of location.

Bluemix Local also features a single admin console that enables enterprises to control their overall cloud platform with visibility through a single dashboard of their public, private and on-premises Bluemix environments, including real-time releases, updates and patches. Users also can sync data across geographies using IBM's global network of cloud data centers that are operated throughout the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

"Though Bluemix Local is designed to run behind an organization's firewall, it is also fully integrated and synched with the Bluemix cloud service," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. "That means that companies can develop apps that leverage internal/external data and APIs, and are also easy to keep current with all related platforms. This speaks to the way that Bluemix Local adds to IBM's cloud strategy, as well as its Bluemix efforts."