News Latest Edition of Node.js Adds Apple Silicon Binaries

Latest Edition of Node.js Adds Apple Silicon Binaries

The technical steering committee (TSC) for Node.js revealed today that the next version of the widely employed open-source framework for building applications will include pre-built binaries for Apple Silicon that is at the core of the next-generation Apple Macintosh platforms that many developers now covet.

Apple claims the 5-nanometer M1 system on a chip (SoC) is developed based on an Arm architecture is more efficient than x86 platforms because the processor, I/O, security, and memory functions are now integrated. ACCORDING TO APPLE, the M1 has eight CPU cores made up of two types that optimize performance and efficiency. Workloads are allocated across four CPU cores of each type, based on performance requirements, to reduce the amount of energy consumed. There is also an eight-core graphical processor unit (GPU) that Apple claims is capable of simultaneously executing 25,000 threads to provide twice as much performance as GPUs found on existing PCs.

Apple has also included a 16-core accelerator, dubbed Neural Engine, that it claims can execute 11 trillion operations per second to offload processing of machine learning algorithms that data scientists employ to create artificial intelligence (AI) models. The M1 also employs a unified memory architecture (UMA) that brings memory together as a single pool, eliminating the need to copy data between multiple pools of memory.

Overall, Apple claims the M1 is twice as fast as an x86-based platform while consuming just a quarter of the power.

The binaries provided with Node.js 16 will make it easier for developers to build JavaScript applications using the latest generation of Macintoshes, says Bethany Griggs, senior software engineer at Red Hat and a member of the Node.js TSC. “There was a lot of work to get this done,” notes Griggs.

The binaries were created using systems donated by Macstadium, a provider of a cloud platform for building Macintosh applications.

Applications built on Node.js, of course, can be deployed on any platform, including the Graviton 2 cloud services based on Arm processors made available by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It’s not clear yet to what degree Arm platforms might supplant x86 platforms, but as frameworks such as Node.js add support for binaries that support Arm, the developer community can more easily keep their options open.

Other capabilities added to Node.js 16 include an update to V8 9.0 of the JavaScript engine, support for ECMAScript RegExp Match Indices, and a Timers Promises application programming interface (API) that provides an alternative set of timer functions to return Promise objects.

Like all even number releases of Node.js, the latest edition is set to become the stable long-term support edition of the framework under the codename Gallium beginning in October. The Node.js. Support for Node.js 12 will come to an end in April 2022, with support for Node.js 14 coming to an end in April 2023. Node.js 10 will go end-of-life at the end of this month.

It’s not entirely clear to what degree a desire to employ the latest generation of Macintosh systems might encourage developers to upgrade faster to the latest edition of Node.js. However, given how obsessed most developers are with reducing application build times, the chances are good the pace at which Node.js upgrades are made may be about to accelerate.

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