Getting Started with Node.js Web App Development

Affinity Bridge is primarily a [Drupal] shop. We've found Drupal to be a great tool for many of the problems we've been solving. Namely collaborating with non-profits and progressive organizations to build successful web sites. Whether it be data intensive mapping projects, group based collaboration systems, or just a simple brochure site, Drupal is a great tool for many jobs.

Recently we decided to explore some other technologies to get a taste for what is off of "Drupal Island". One technology that many of us here have been keeping an eye on is [Node.js].

The culture at Affinity Bridge invites innovation and self-education so that our team members can learn and challenge ourselves. We began looking for a project to work on so that we could learn more about Node.js. After some brainstorming we decided on a simple web app project.

Server-side mapping

We have several projects that involve processing large geospatial datasets (geo-data) and displaying them on maps. These projects present some interesting technical challenges involving the storage, transfer and processing of geo-data. This post outlines some of bigger challenges we have encountered and our corresponding solutions.

The challenge

In the past we have used the GMap and OpenLayers libraries and their equivalent Drupal modules on our mapping projects. They are effective solutions when you have a small or even moderately sized collection of entities containing some simple geodata (points, lines, polygons) that you want to present as vector overlays on a map. Unfortunately they tend to fall apart fast when you attempt them with larger datasets. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Geospatial data can be large, particularly as we tend to encode it in text-based formats such as WKT or GeoJSON when we are sending it to a web browser. The larger the data, the longer it takes to transfer from server to client.


Session Picks for DrupalCon Denver Next Week!

DrupalCon Denver 2012 - I'm Going!

It's that time of year again! Next week, DrupalCon descends on Denver so we Drupallers can teach each other cool things, and get some well needed face time with our friends and collaborators. I'll be representing AB solo this time round, so don't be shy if you want to come chat about what we've been up to lately.

It's hard to believe, but this will be my 7th DrupalCon since spring of 2008, and it'll be a pretty different one for me. Late last year I stepped down from my position as Drupal Documentation Co-Lead, and have been taking some time to reset priorities and goals for myself careerwise. I'm not giving any sessions, or hosting any sprints or BOFs - for the first time in a while, I'm going to be purely *gasp* an attendee. It will be a welcome change of pace to just be able to decompress and soak it all in.

Want to Join the Affinity Bridge Team?


How can you not want to be part of this???

At the first PNW Summit in Seattle (2008) c/o our friend Steve from The Jibe

Okay, you got us. We're not really "rock stars", and there are no foosball tables here. We're a group of peers who enjoy being engaged in our work, and sharing our work lives with each other.

Affinity Bridge team at the PNW Drupal Summit

Most of the Affinity Bridge team will be heading south to this year's PNW Drupal Summit (which rotates between Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland, and is in Portland this year). There will be two official sessions that our team members will be presenting that you might want to check out if you're coming to the conference:

Best practices for running a Drupal-based business (Panel)

10:10am - Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mack is going to be part of a business panel that will be addressing various questions and ideas related to running a Drupal based company. Topics they'll be discussing include: how to find good clients, how to find and keep a good team, pricing, and best practices. More details on the session page.

Using Build Kit & the Kit specification to build Drupal distributions

2:30pm - Sunday, October 16, 2011

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