But, what is Meteor?

 On 1 December 2011 the MDG (Meteor Development Group), announced the pre-release of a new framework called Skybreak, who shortly was renamed for Meteor. Eight months later the project had raised about US $ 11,200,000.00 from big names like Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partner, Peter Levine (former CEO of XenSource), Dustin Moskovitz (co founder of Facebook) and Rob Johnson (founder of SpringSource). Early, the Meteor repository on github reached the top 20 most popular. Days after the release of version 1.0 it became the eleventh, getting more stars than the Linux kernel, the package manager homebrew OS X and Backbone.js.

But what’s Meteor?

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Meteor is more than a framework, is a platform designed for simple and cohesive development, to make web development easier. Meteor is part of a new generation of technologies that work to make web real-time and reactive, bringing software development to a new level, enabling rapid prototyping, development and producing cross-platform applications (web, Android, iOS ). Look what do you have with a simple “meteor run”.

What else?

Meteor is easy to learn

If you take a look at the seven principles of Meteor, one of them is “Simplicity equals productivity”, all that you need to know to implement your application in both, front-end and back-end, web, Android and iOS is Javascript.

The concepts are clear and simple, one of the most recommended books by Meteor community, Discover Meteor has less than 300 pages, without avoid any of the important ideas or good practice, however, within this little book you’re already taken beyond the basics.

The development environment is simple and robust

There are no mysteries surrounding the environment, to start from scratch to your “hello world” deployed in production on meteor.com, even without any knowledge you will not spend more than a few hours.

MongoDB is natively supported, when you create a new application, MongoDB is there, without the need of any additional configuration, you simply use it. Other options are Redis, MySQL and Postgres.

To program you will find great choices of IDEs and editors with full support for Meteor, both, offline (WebStorm or Sublime) and online (Cloud9 or Codebox).

Although the Meteor runs over Node.js, you don’t have to install it by yourself, actually, it’s unnecessary to know anything about it. Nothing Grunt and Bower, no environment variables or expertise.

Cross-platform code

Through Isobuild, mobile applications can be generated using the same code used in web applications, using the PhoneGap / Cordova (PhoneGap is a “distribution” of Cordova), an application built with Meteor + Famo.us has not only a beautiful appearance but also doesn’t lack in performance issues when compared to native applications.

Rich catalog of packages

Meteor’s smart packages repository, Atmosphere, right now has 4937 packages available, in addition to 142,765 available for Node.js that can also be used by Meteor applications.

A good example of a smart package is the accounts-password that provides all you need to register users and let them login in your website. All you need to do to is add the smart package

meteor add accounts-password

And include the buttons in your application.

LoginButtons

That’s it, now any user can create an account and login in your site. Do you need that users can authenticate with their Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts?

meteor add accounts-facebookmeteor add accounts-twittermeteor add accounts-google

Done!

Have you ever tried to do it in Java for example? Yes, I have, unfortunately.

Active and receptive community

Right now, the Meteor repository on Github is the tenth with more stars, with 199 active contributors. The information sources are the most diverse possible and always producing new content.

It’s the future

The trend is that applications become real-time and reactive and, before we can imagine users will be demanding it, imagine you refreshing GMail every time you want to know if you received a new email. Now think about how to implement reactive and real-time applications with industry-standard technologies… hard right? They were not designed with that in mind, Meteor is, as I said earlier, part of a new generation of technologies that born to handle it  in a natural way.

So I think that Meteor is here to stay, creating new jobs, business opportunities and fun for at least another 10 years.

Sources

Atmospherejs

Discover Meteor

Meteor in Action

http://www.meteorpedia.com

https://www.meteor.com

https://github.com

Allan de Queiroz

Allan de Queiroz
London based software engineer

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