“Anyone who knows HTML can get started with Meteor”
Meteor is the brainchild of Matt Debergalis, who succinctly describes the platform as ‘a better, faster way to build apps’. So, what is Meteor?
The Meteor framework is currently at the beta stage, as Matt explains: “Meteor is pre-1.0 software, which mostly means we’re not ready to freeze all of the APIs just yet. Early developers who are writing apps with Meteor today just need to be comfortable with some of the modules occasionally changing between releases. They should also be actively monitoring the online discussion groups in order to stay current on
what is coming next.”
The Meteor platform is billed as ‘A better way to build apps’, but this doesn’t reveal its true character and features. The premise of the platform is to bring consistency and ease, as Matt elaborates: “When you write an application in Meteor, you use one language and one consistent API throughout your application – both the pieces that run in the browser and the pieces that run in the data center. That means there’s less to learn and fewer parts to juggle – and all of Meteor’s parts were designed to work together without making you do a bunch of pointless work. When the database changes, every open tab automatically redraws to show you the latest information, subject to any security and sharing rules you wrote. Instead of having to design a custom API that the client can use to change data, you can use the popular MongoDB commands, even when you’re in the browser.
“You can deploy your finished application with one command to our free servers today and to your own servers in the future – and when you change the app, every active browser takes a hot code push without disrupting the user.”
“For example, any client-side application needs to communicate with its server component. Meteor uses a websocket-based protocol called DDP to transmit data back and forth. Expert developers can control each DDP message, so you can change the way the server publishes data to the client or even integrate with another system by writing a DDP client in another language.
“If you want to get really advanced, you can even take apart the Meteor stack and just use the individual packages that you need. You can write command-line clients and server daemons in Meteor as well – we do it all the time!”
If Meteor has grabbed your interest, there is a host of ways for you to get involved with the platform, Matt says: “Besides getting on the mailing list and sharing your ideas, check out if there is a local Meteor meetup near you – there are user groups in over 40 cities around the world. If that’s not an option, you can tune into Meteor Devshop Live (devshop.meteor.com) on the last Thursday of each month to catch a live stream of technical talks from core devs and app developers from our San Francisco office.”
To get all the details and find out more, be sure to check out the website at www.meteor.com.