“Node is designed to be used for [server-side] applications that are heavy on input/output (I/O), but light on computation,” veteran Web technology author Shelley Powers notes in Learning Node, her ninth and newest how-to book from O’Reilly.
I’ve criticized some previous Node books (1) for assuming that all of their readers know a lot about Node.js and assorted programming languages and (2) for not giving enough step-by-step installation and start-up information.
One caveat regarding code examples: “Most were tested in a Linux environment, but should work, as is, in any Node environment.”
The 374-page book has 16 chapters. The first five “cover both getting Node and the package manager (npm) installed , how to use them, creating your first applications, and utilizing modules.”
Shelley Powers notes that she incorporates “the use of the Express framework, which also utilizes the Connect middleware, throughout the book.” So if you have little or no experience with Express, you will need to pay attention to chapters 6 through 8. But: “After these foundation chapters, you can skip around a bit,” she adds.
Some of the additional chapters cover key/value pairs, using MongoDb with Node, and working with Node’s relational database bindings.
Two chapters get into specialized application use. “Chapter 12 focuses purely on graphics and media access, including how to provide media for the new HTML5 video element, as well as working with PDF documents and Canvas,” the author points out. “Chapter 13 covers the very popular Sockets.io module, especially for working with the new web socket functionality.”
The final chapters are crucial, particularly if you want to move from learning Node to working in a production environment. Chapter 14 covers “Testing and Debugging Node Applications.” Chapter 15 “covers issues of security and authority…it is essential that you spend time in this chapter before you roll a Node application out for general use.”
Meanwhile, Chapter 16 describes “how to prepare your application for production use, including how to deploy your Node application not only on your own system , but also in one of the cloud servers that are popping up to host Node applications.”
Learning Node is both an excellent overall introduction to Node.js and a how-to reference guide that you will want to keep close at hand as you develop and deploy Node applications.
– Si Dunn