Microsoft Releases Node.js Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio

Microsoft delivered the 1.0 release of its Visual Studio tooling for Node.js developers.

Download the authoritative guide: How to Develop an IT Security Strategy

Node.js Tools

Microsoft has announced the release of Node.js Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio (NTVS 1.0).

This marks the next major milestone for Microsoft's NTVS open-source plug-in, enabling developers to use Visual Studio 2012/2013 as a Node.js tool for building fast, scalable applications using JavaScript. Developers using Node.js can develop for a host of different platforms, including Internet of things (IoT) devices, desktop applications, robotics and more.

The NTVS plug-in has been in development for more than a year, as Microsoft announced a beta of the tooling last April at its Build 2014 conference. NTVS is a free, open source extension for Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013 that turns Visual Studio into a Node.js integrated development environment (IDE). NTVS 1.0 supports the free Visual Studio Community and Visual Studio Express for Web editions, as well as Visual Studio Professional and higher.

"Node.js is a platform for building fast, scalable applications using JavaScript," said Sara Itani, a Microsoft software engineer working on the NTVS team, in a blog post. "It's making its way just about everywhere—from servers, to Internet of Things devices, to desktop applications, to who knows what next? And now, with Node.js support in Visual Studio, it's easier than ever before to develop Node.js applications."

Highlights of this release include editing and IntelliSense improvements. Visual Studio supports syntax highlighting, code-folding, find in files and also code completions. The new release also features a Node.js Interactive Window with support for read-eval-print loop (REPL). A REPL is an environment that accepts one command at a time, helping developers experiment with code or explore a new package more quickly.

"For the uninitiated, REPLs are awesome," Itani said. "Write some code, and see the results inline. It really speeds up the process of experimenting with code, or exploring a new package. And of course, we've gone a step further and sprinkled the experience with some Visual Studio magic—you'll get full syntax highlighting and completions, just like you do in the editor."

The new NTVS release also features npm Integration. Npm is a package manager for JavaScript and is the default for Node.js. With NTVS 1.0, developers can explore and manage npm dependencies in their project and install them from the npm registry.

"Explore and manage your npm dependencies in Solution Explorer, search for and install dependencies from the npm registry in the rich UI, and hop into the interactive window or command prompt for everything else," Itani said. "The end-to-end npm integration makes working with your dependencies easy—NTVS will even warn you when one of your dependencies is missing."

Node.js is a software platform for scalable server-side and networking applications. Node.js applications are written in JavaScript, and can be run within the Node.js runtime on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux with no changes. Applications are designed to maximize throughput and efficiency, using non-blocking I/O and asynchronous events. They run single-threaded, although Node.js uses multiple threads for file and network events. The Node.js platform is built on Google Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications.