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Last night we attended the inaugural London Node User Group or to those in the know l-nug #lnug. We have been experimenting with node.js internally here all year and are extremely excited by the prospects it may hold for our clients and us in the future, aside from the fact we love all things javascript and who wouldn’t want to write asynchronous code….

The event was hosted and sponsored by the fine chaps at Forward in their rather swanky Camden offices and kicked off with a lovely round of free drinks and pizza (courtesy of Forward), some great informal networking and discussions surrounding the likes of the new Kindle Silk browser and Facebook’s plans to take over the world. A good warm up to get the brains ticking for the night’s 3 main talks:

Forward’s own Andy Kent started the night with: “Real time data analysis over unbounded streams” a look into the libraries he has been producing internally at Forward for real-time keyword data analysis specifically his Creek streaming aggregator used in production to track popular words and urls across different data streams. We were particularly impressed to see it being benchmarked in production environments clocking 500 hits a second without even flinching.

Garren Smith gave a very insightful talk “These are the ORM’s you are looking for” discussing a few options you have for ORM’s in node to create abstraction layers between your code and your lovely NoSQL db’s for object relational mapping bliss (and we are big fan’s of ORMs). Specifically LazyBoy which he wrote for couch (our personal favorite NoSQL) and we have used for personal projects. Bringing support for defaults, CRUD, relationships (hasmany e.t.c) and couch view goodness.

Rob Tweed finished the night with a rather controversial (well at least at a node group) talk on the Globals database, a very reliable high performance in-process (i.e. no network layer) NoSQL database (tongue twister) that predates the NoSQL era, abstracted from Caché db. My favorite quote of the night was from Rob, when discussing getting into node.js:

If Douglas Crockford is talking about it, then it must be good!

Not for the faint hearted, Globals is a extremely low-level storage engine for which you have to write your api’s yourself, even indexing! However, this allows you to be a lot more flexible in creating your db’s. Rob’s interesting point was that after a lot of testing and benchmarking he found that when using Globals and “blocking” on high performace enterprise level projects, synchronous db calls where faster than the as aysnc possibilities node gives us. This led into a great Q&A session from the all the aync fan boys in the room.

After the event we all headed to the grand union for some post-event discussion, where I discussed the possibility of using Node in some upcoming mobile projects we have, with some great ideas coming from people for real life uses for sockets and node in mobile development, so watch this space.

Overall the event was a great start to what – we hope – will be long running user group, a great community of people all pushing the technology to new and exciting places. Firmly rooting the fact that server side javascript is here to stay, and is ready for production use! A massive thanks to Andrew Nesbitt and Andy Kent and Forward for being great hosts. We’re always happy to meet new friends in the london tech scene so why not follow us on twitter: UVd Patrick Hamann

I will update the post once the slides/videos for the night have been released.

UPDATE: Forwards Flickr photoset from the night.
UPDATE: Video of Andy Kent’s talk “Real time data analysis over unbounded streams”

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