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Meteor is going to be big

MeteorMore than four years ago, I called JavaScript the most important language today. I stand by that – admittedly somewhat sensationalistic – assessment. JavaScript remains the lingua franca of the web and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, despite the emergence of mobile (where native development is winning).

In fact, much like I speculated at the time, Node.js ended up becoming fairly popular and is now a well established option for a full stack JavaScript development environment.

In that same essay from four years ago, I also wrote:

What we really need is a lightweight web framework that well integrates server and client-side JavaScript. This would have game changing potential (think Rails back in 2004). Developers have grown accustomed to a high level of abstraction when it comes to web development though, so there are a couple of possibilities here: either Node will become that framework or someone will create such a framework (perhaps on top of Node). Whoever does that will hold a piece of future and a golden ticket in their hands.

I believe that we have that framework today, albeit still in its early days (Preview 0.8.3 at the time of writing). That framework is Meteor (sometimes called Meteor.js). If you haven’t checked it out yet, I encourage you to do so. I see many parallels between Metor today and Rails in early 2005.

Despite what Rails haters will tell you, this is a very good thing. Success requires a healthy dose of marketing and from what I have seen, these guys know how to promote their framework. I know, I know, your allergy to marketing is flaring up, dear programmer, but it is a necessary component for the long term success and adoption of a framework.

Expanding further on that thought, I see three similarities to Rails’ early days that make Meteor likely to become very popular in the future:

  1. It has the X factor. I don’t know any developer who isn’t impressed by watching the short demos on the homepage. The ability to update the content of a page that’s already loaded without refreshing is rather impressive on its own.
  2. The folks behind it understand marketing. It’s already one of the top Github projects, thanks to the fact that they invited people to favorite it. You might not like it, as a developer, but this point tells me that these guys are serious about marketing their project and having it succeed. They are also fairly organized when it comes to officially sanctioned meetup groups.
  3. It’s not a copycat of existing frameworks. It’s not your typical MVC Rails clone applied to language X. It introduces new and arguably simplified ways of developing applications very rapidly (take a look at the authentication screencast to see what I mean).

TL;DR: Keep an eye on Meteor. ;-)


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2 Responses to “Meteor is going to be big”

  1. Josh Owens says:

    Nice post! Sounds similar to what I wrote a while back: http://differential.io/blog/meteor-killin-rails

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