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Resources to Get You Up to Speed in Node.js

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For a long time, JavaScript developers hoped for a server-side solution that would allow them to fully and easily leverage their favorite programming language on the backend. Through the years, a number of options have been made available like Aptana Jaxer, APE and Narwahl. But, they never really generated the type of traction needed to make them widely adopted.

Then in 2009, Ryan Dahl announced Node.js to the world at JSConf.eu, receiving a standing ovation and cementing Node.js as the goto JavaScript server. It has become such an important piece of software that companies like eBay are using it to build out some of their most complex systems and the npm repository has received venture capital funding to ensure its continued development and stability.

So it goes without saying, that Node.js has become a solid end-to-end solution for JavaScript developers, letting them take advantage of JavaScript to build full-stack web apps. The resources that I'll list, at least at the time of this writing, are those that I know are current and are useful for getting a good understanding of how Node.js works and its structure. So follow along as I jot out some great learning resources for you.

The Resources

Tuts+ Node Course Catalog

At Tuts+, we constantly strive to produce great courses for top-developer technologies and Node.js is no exception. We cover everything from getting started with Node.js to building web apps with the Express framework. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced developer, our courseware has you covered.

Node.js

The Node.js project's main site not only offers you the installers to get Node.js running on your system, but also providers a wealth of information to ensure you understand how to use it. The documentation is solid and provides a lot of detail about the API but the community page is what really stands out. It's chock full of great information about meetups, third party support options and learning sites to get you ready for your Node.js journey.

npm

If you plan on doing any serious Node.js development, you're going to have to get familiar with Node Packaged Modules. npm is the official package manager for Node.js and not only will you use it for bringing in functionality to your app via the npm registry, you'll eventually want to create your own modules to make code management way easier. The npm registry hosts a boatload of modules that provide all types of capabilities, so be sure to check it out before trying to reinvent the wheel.

Nodeschool.io

When you want a little more hand holding past simple tutorials, sometimes an online class does the trick. Nodeschool is a very sweet, interactive community-driven course that helps you get up to speed on Node.js. By installing the courses locally and walking through them, you should be able to develop a decent understanding of the application server. The best part is that it's free!

How to Node

How to Node is a site dedicated solely to developing in Node.js. It runs the gamut of skill levels, providing tutorials for those just starting out and to the hardcore Node.js coders.

And with contributors like Tim Caswell, creator of Node Version Manager, you know the content will be top-notch.

Planet Node.js

One of the reasons articles like this one exists, is because there's so much information floating around, making it hard to narrow it down to the really useful resources. One place that aims to help is Planet Node.js, which serves to aggregate content from all the top Node.js-related blogs, making it very easy to add to your RSS feed. Just add it to your favorite news reader (I like NewBlur personally) and you'll be all set with great Node.js information.

Node.js Weekly

Peter Cooper has done a fabulous job of creating several technology-specific newsletters that really capture hard to find tidbits about those technologies. He's done it for a variety of targets including Ruby, JavaScript and of course, Node.js. Every week, you'll receive an email newsletter listing a roundup of top articles and tutorials as well as newly announced frameworks and tools. It's definitely worth signing up for.

The Node Up Podcast

Into podcasts? Then this is the one you need to listen to. This monthly Node.js podcast dives deep into the Node.js world, bringing on top Node developers like Daniel Shaw and Mikeal Rogers to talk about everything from powering drones with Node to technical topics like error handling. And considering that Joyent is sponsoring this, you know it's got to be good.

Node Cloud

I call this the big bucket of Node.js resources. Node Cloud aggregates a list of a ton of Node.js resources and it's certainly worth bookmarking

Ramping Up

Node.js is an amazing piece of technology and a boon for JavaScript developers who have traditionally needed to use another language to build out the server-side. The Node.js community is amazing and continues to grow exponentially contributing code, documentation and so much more. It's no wonder that Node.js is so popular and why I constantly hear that JavaScript is the lingua franca of the web.

As it gains more traction, we'll see more and more resources become available ensuring that aspiring Node.js developers can ramp up quickly and with little friction. I hope this list is a good start and helps you on your journey to be a great Node.js developer.

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