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Bring on the Node.js code! For the past few weeks we’ve been running an internal developer preview of Node.js hosting on Appcelerator Cloud Services, which we call Node.ACS. This allows developers to code server side apps in familiar JavaScript, then deploy them into the ACS cloud. Just like with the rest of the ACS features, we’ll take care of all of the deployment and hosting issues.

Now we’re happy to announce that we’re expanding the developer preview to the first 100 developers who send an email to me at mgoff@appcelerator.com to request access. You’ll get first crack at trying out our Node.js hosting solution that will be closely integrated with ACS and Titanium Studio. Help us to develop the next great feature for ACS! The ACS Team is looking for feedback about any unknown problems encountered, along with suggestions for additional features which should be added.

Documentation about how to use Node.ACS is available at http://cloud.appcelerator.com/docs/nodejs/custom_code_tutorial. For support, post a question to the Appcelerator Community Q&A. Be sure to use the node.acs tag when posting so that we can see it right away. To view existing Q&A about Node.ACS, view all questions with the node.acs tag.

Here are the features we support:

  • Create, test, and publish a Node.js app
  • Login/logout using Appcelerator developer accounts
  • Create a new node.js app
  • Run the node.js app locally for testing
  • Publish the node.js app to the ACS cloud
  • List your currently running apps
  • Retrieve log output from your app
  • Unpublish an app
  • Connect with all ACS features through an included node.js library

Being a developer preview, there are some caveats:

  • We’re limiting this part of the preview to 100 users, but will expand that number later on.
  • You can publish multiple versions of your app, but only the latest version will be accessible. If you unpublish the latest version, the previous version will become accessible.
  • We will periodically unpublish all running apps to keep our resource usage under control during this free developer preview. Therefore if you see a published app not running anymore, just try publishing it again. The same URL will be used when your app is republished.
  • If a published app cannot be started (dependencies missing from package.json, etc.) we do not currently provide any warning. You’ll just see a 503 error when trying to access the given URL for your app. Be sure to test locally before publishing your app to ACS.
  • Published apps can take up to two minutes to go live. This is due to the startup time required to launch a new EC2 node on Amazon.
  • Your apps may run slower than expected at times. We are using t1.micro Amazon EC2 nodes during the initial developer preview.

Here are some upcoming features under development which will be released in a later version of the developer preview:

  • Websockets support
  • Immediate availability of apps when published
  • Deployment of apps to larger, shared Amazon EC2 nodes
  • Vanity CNAME support
  • SSL certificate upload support
  • Generation of client-side bindings to use in Titanium Studio projects
  • Creation of standalone node.js projects from Titanium Studio
  • Creation of combined client & server projects from Titanium Studio

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