Over a year ago, Joyent bought Reasonably Smart, a cloud provider of SSJS, and subsequently transmuted it into Smart Platform, which runs on their distributed infrastructure. This followed the shining example of Heroku and Google App Engine, in that application deployment became a matter of pushing some new code to a Git repository online. For me, this was fantastically attractive, as I avoid touching servers as much as realistically possible. They came out with Smart Platform shortly before the demise of AppJet’s free service, which I had been happily trying for a while, as it did much the same thing.
Nearly a year on, and Smart Platform hasn’t really taken off, if Google Trends is anything to go by. And my ambitions to run my entire web estate on identical server-side and client-side code have rather fallen by the way-side. I am happy to see that Smart Platform now has a permanent full-time coder (@konobi), who is making Smart Platform play nicely with the CommonJS spec for server-side JS, but I don’t yet know when Joyent are going to drop a new release, or where they’re going with it.
Enter Node.js. The interest in Node.js has stayed high since its November launch, with developers building an assortment of frameworks and tools on top of it or with it, in effect legitimising it as a serious development environment for software running on a server.
The number of cloud providers for Node.js has increased from 0 to 2 very recently: Heroku has announced a very experimental Node.js stack, and ElusiveHippo is in development, releasing accounts slowly. I should probably also mention that Ryan Dahl (who created Node.js) works for Joyent, so I wouldn’t be suprised if a Smart Platform-style service came out for Node.js.