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Engineering at Betterment

Betterment Hosts “Meteoric” JS Meetup

On a frigid Wednesday night, our Betterment Office became a cozy respite for the NYC-JS Meetup. The evening’s agenda was to explore a beta Node.js framework called Meteor. Settled into a makeshift gallery of couches and bar stools, some 30 JavaScript enthusiasts snacked on generous amounts of Dev-fuel (meaning pizza and beer) while 10gen’s Nathan Zamecnik shared his experience with the “realtime-reactive” framework claiming to deliver a “better way to build an app.” A “better” way to build something? That’s a calling card we certainly appreciate.

Articles by Yuriy Goldman

By Yuriy Goldman
Engineering Manager, Betterment  |  Published: February 22, 2013


What makes Meteor interesting is its pub-sub capabilities for delivering real-time content pushes from a Node.js-based server to multiple JS-based clients. Further, MongoDB—a popular NoSQL document store provide data persistence, synchronization, and consistency for data produced and syndicated by apps built on top of Meteor. Under the hood Meteor provides web-socket and Distributed Data Protocol abstractions via a compact API. The framework lends itself to rapid prototyping of applications by allowing the developer to focus on business logic.

Nathan demo-ed a Group Chat server-client followed by a detailed code walk-through to show us how simple it was to allow multiple clients to subscribe to a server-side channel. We even saw some security and content-selectivity in action. Foregoing strict code organization in favor of demo clarity, Nathan showed us how isServer() and isClient() could be used to define functionality specific to each while reusing helper code. For a preview framework, Meteor seemed feature-complete yet Nathan was sure to stress that it was not yet ready for production use.

The Q&A Session buzzed with musings on how this framework will scale as it matures, enterprise-support capabilities the Meteor team will monetize, and of course all the cool things one could build with it. The Betterment Dev crew was busy dreaming up meteoric features of our own: real-time price broadcasting, live charting updates, and new ways of delivering timely advice, to name a few.

An overall superbly successful meetup!

Keep an eye out for the Betterment Dev crew at future JavaScript-focused meetups. We’ve been busy in the shop with some hotness of our own, and we love to share.

Interested in exploring further? You can read Nathan’s comments on the Meetup event page hereHis slide-deck is here. And you can grab the code from Nathan’s github here.

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