Comet, server-side javascript, and the project (Tue, Nov 10, 2009)

Thanks to everyone who came to the fifth installment of the 2009-2010 HCS seminar series. Here are the details of the talk:

Every developer doing anything with the web needs to know JavaScript these days, but back-end servers are seldom written in that language, mostly for lack of libraries, and because JavaScript has until recently only routinely run inside the browser. But JavaScript is a great language for writing asynchronous network applications such as multiplayer game servers, or chat applications, because of its support for closures and first-class anonymous functions. The project borrows design ideas from Python's Twisted library, and builds on Node.js (itself built on Google's V8 engine), to let network developers write high-performance network servers, in JavaScript. Now we can write both client and server code in the same language, re-use components between the two, and best of all, test complete working network applications wholly within the browser, and then deploy identical code to a server running Node.

I'll talk about the fundamentals of network programming, how "Comet" works for sending messages bi-directionally between browser and server, and how will make building awesome performant network apps fun and straight-forward.

Speaker: Jacob Rus

The HCS seminar series provides an open forum for members of the Harvard community to speak about topics in computers, technology, and the universe in general. See for an up-to-the-minute schedule of talks. Interested in giving a seminar? Submit a brief description of your talk at, or email us at