Progress puts money behind Node.js with Modulus buy

The Modulus Platform gives Progress an entry into the growing market for enterprise Node.js

Latching on to the growing success of the Node.js platform, development tools provider Progress Software has acquired Modulus, which offers a platform for running the Node.js JavaScript runtime.

"We believe there is huge growth in Node," said Karen Tegan Padir, Progress chief technology officer. "The Node.js community is growing faster than that for any other language."

Node.js has been widely used by Web application developers over the past few years. Both Walmart and PayPal have used Node for their heavily used front-end services.

Node "is a natural extension of JavaScript into the enterprise that makes it very scalable," Padir said.

By running JavaScript on the server, Node.js allows developers to use the same language for the front-end user interfaces and the back-end processing. "Node brings JavaScript to the full stack," Padir said.

Node offers an asynchronous programming model that can support hundreds or thousands of concurrent users, making it especially useful for running real-time mobile, software-as-a-service, social and big data applications. "It's really easy for developers because they don't have to handle multiple threads within an application," Padir said.

Modulus has been an early mover in the enterprise Node space. Formed in 2012, the privately held, Cincinnati-based Modulus has already accumulated more than 450 customers.

Modulus was unique in this space because the company's platform can be run both on an external hosted service and on-premises, allowing customers to easily move their Node applications between their data centers and cloud services that support Node, Padir said. The Modulus platform can be run on both Node cloud provider Joyent and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In addition to Node, the Modulus package includes MongoDB, which is often paired with Node because it natively writes data in the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. When used with Node, MongoDB can speed throughput by reducing format translations and be easier to work with for JavaScript developers who may be unfamiliar with other database formats.

The package also provides tools for developers to use the WebSockets communication protocol, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption and a set of tools for tracking usage metrics.

For the past three decades, Progress has specialized in providing application development platforms, many of which have been designed for people with only light programming skills.

In 2012, the company moved into the platform as a service space with the purchase of RoleBase, which provided an easy-to-use hosted platform for building applications. Modulus is the second addition to this PaaS portfolio, one especially for JavaScript developers, Padir said.

For the immediate future, Progress will maintain Modulus as a separate business unit. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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