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Node.js fork IO.js releases version 1.0 – but it’s not a competition

Natali Vlatko
Fork image via Shutterstock

The new release of Node.js fork IO.js has commentators wondering if the fork is looking to “outdo” it’s original project. What does this new release hope to achieve?

Version 1.0 of the Node.js fork IO.js has just been released, overtaking the current version of the original project it was based on. Having forked from the JavaScript framework late last year, the current version of IO.js now has more capabilities with Node.js modules (npm modules), as well as several functions not yet established in Node.js. The Joyent-led project is currently sitting on version 0.11.14.

The IO.js fork was created by prominent Node.js contributor Fedor Indutny as a fork with ES6 support. The goal is to achieve a faster release cycle and an updated V8 engine, as well as an “open governance model” in contrast to Joyent’s domination of Node.js Prime. The IO.js project is currently maintained by a technical committee.

Project growth

While the jump in version number may have ignited rumours of project competition with Node.js, the IO.js developers have explicitly stated their reasoning for the jump on the project’s FAQ page:

The choice to release as 1.0.x was not to signify that io.js should be considered production-ready, but because it was a significant enough release from Node.js™ to warrant a major version increment.

As Neil McAllister writes on The Register, one advantage of IO.js is that the project’s developers are committed to running it against recent builds of Google’s V8 JavaScript engine, with IO.js 1.0.1 built against version 3.31.71.4. This essentially means that IO.js is able to support more features of version 6 of the ECMA-262 specification than Node.js can.

There is also the desire to combine the two projects again at some point in the future, with IO.js technical committee member Isaac Schlueter posting recently on his blog:

Io.js continues the work that was previously being done by Node Forward in the node-forward/node repository. We hope to merge with the original Node.js project at some point in the future… The work being done in the Joyent Node Advisory Board appears to be heading towards shared goals for the good of the Node community. I expect that this will continue.

The code for IO.js 1.0.1 can be downloaded from the project’s GitHub repository.

Author
Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group).

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