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Web server add-ons: Scripting Interpreters

Below is a short list of the more popular middleware programs:
  1. Server Side JavaScript (LiveWire): Marketed by Netscape, this solution provides an interpreter especially meant for JavaScript. It is proprietary for Netscape servers.
  2. Cold Fusion Server: Marketed by Adobe, this interpreter is notable for its power, ease of use, and support for UNIX and NT.
  3. Active Server Pages: A powerful, proprietary solution. This solution uses either VBScript or JavaScript, but is especially designed for VBScript.
  4. Perl: The original, multiplatform CGI standard. Once you download the perl interpreter from http://www.perl.org, you simply user the perl language to create your solution.
  5. Personal Home Pages (PHP5): This relatively new interpreter and language provides multiplatform support and is available at
    PHP.

JavaScript and Node

For better or worse, JavaScript is the world's most popular programming language. If you have done any programming for the web, it's unavoidable. JavaScript has fulfilled the "write once, run anywhere" dream that Java had back in the 1990s. Around the time of the Ajax revolution in 2005, JavaScript went from being a toy language to something people wrote real and significant programs with. Some of the notable firsts were Google Maps and Gmail, but today there are a host of web applications from Twitter to Facebook to GitHub.
Since the release of Google Chrome in late 2008, JavaScript performance has improved at an incredibly fast rate due to heavy competition between browser vendors (Mozilla, Microsoft, Apple, Opera, and Google). The performance of these modern JavaScript virtual machines is literally changing the types of applications you can build on the web.
A compelling example of this is jslinux, a PC emulator running in JavaScript where you can load a Linux kernel, interact with the terminal session, and compile a C program, all in your browser. Node uses V8, the virtual machine that powers Google Chrome, for server-side programming. V8 gives Node a huge boost in performance because it cuts out the interpreter, preferring straight compilation into native machine code over executing bytecode. Because Node uses JavaScript on the server, there are also other benefits:
  1. Developers can write web applications in one language, which helps by reducing the context switch between client and server development, and allowing for code sharing between client and server, such as reusing the same code for form validation or game logic.
  2. JSON is a very popular data interchange format today and is native to JavaScript.
  3. JavaScript is the language used in various NoSQL databases (such as CouchDB and MongoDB), so interfacing with them is a natural fit (for example, the shell of MongoDB and query language is JavaScript; map/reduce of CouchDB is JavaScript).
  4. JavaScript is a compilation target, and there are a number of languages that compile to it already.
  5. Node uses one virtual machine (V8) that keeps up with the ECMAScript standard. In other words, you do not have to wait for all the browsers to catch up to use new JavaScript language features in Node.