Appendix A - Why Node?

The core of Hyperion is driven by Node and Redis. We do use other technologies, both within Hyperion and other components. None though, as extensively as Node and Redis. Interestingly, no one ever asks “Why C?” or Why Go?”, but they always ask “Why Node?”

The answer is simple: To Learn It.

This isn’t the answer most people seem to expect. Surely there are better criteria for picking a language?

Consider the primary reason people normally pick a language: familiarity. It’s compelling, no doubt about it. However, time and again, I’ve seen what happens to developers and companies driven by the comfort of familiarity. .NET developers who only know .NET, Java developers who only know Java, RoR developers who only know RoR, etc. tend to be significantly worse than those who explore, probably for two reasons. First, learning new things makes you better. Secondly, a programmer interested in learning is more than likely a programmer passionate about what he or she is doing.

It isn’t that we didn’t consider other factors. I had done enough Node to know it would be OK (and we always could have changed, if need be). Hiring was already difficult (being based outside of any hot market), and there was no reason to think this would significantly hurt or help us.

Curiosity should always be encouraged; comfort, extinguished.

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