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Microsoft Forks Node.js to Support ARM

| by Jeff Martin Follow 17 Followers on May 22, 2015. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Node.js is available for many different platforms, but Windows on ARM is not one of them.  To address this gap, Microsoft has created its own version of version of Node.js which is designed to run on Windows 10 and support the ARM architecture.

To do this, Microsoft has changed the default Node.js configuration from using the V8 JavaScript engine to allow the use of the Chakra JavaScript engine found on Windows 10.  At present this means the Microsoft version of Node.js is distinct from the standard distribution provided by the Node.js project.  Microsoft states that they intend to incorporate their changes into the master Node.js project at some future point.

According to Microsoft’s Arunesh Chandra and Gaurav Seth, the goal of supporting Windows on ARM is to further the company’s vision of powering the Internet of Things with Windows 10 IoT Core.  Seth notes that while the project’s focus is on IoT Core, their modified version of Node.js should run on any version of Windows 10.  The team has provided a sample of running Windows Universal “Hello, World” application and how to modify a project for the Raspberry Pi 2, both utilizing the new Node.js.

Developer reaction to this announcement is mixed.  Some are greatly concerned about the potential for Microsoft to embrace & extend their familiar Node.js.  Others dislike the verbosity of the API while some think the changes are positive as they include improved documentation.  However, since Microsoft has been making a bigger push into open source software over the past 12-18 months, it may be worth allowing them time to see if they will fulfill their plan to join the parent Node.js project.

Those who wish to build the project from scratch will find directions online.

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