What You Need To Know About Meteor 1.0
- I’ve written about the benefits of Meteor in a previous article.
Now, the actual changelog for 1.0 isn’t huge but, in the weeks leading up to 1.0, the releases came quick and heavy, so if you haven’t been paying attention to Meteor, there’s plenty of interesting additions that you might have missed.
Let’s run through some of the biggest changes.
1. There’s three example applications to play around with.
For a while, there was a range of example applications that were used to demonstrate the various features of Meteor. The problem is, those examples grew increasingly outdated with each major release.
Luckily, with the release of Meteor 1.0, there’s now two (heavily) revised examples, and one that’s completely new:
- Local Market (new)
To copy these projects to your local machine, install Meteor and run the following commands from the command line:
meteor create --example leaderboard meteor create --example todos meteor create --example localmarket
Then navigate into one of the project’s folders and use the
meteor run command to start the local server:
cd todos meteor run
You can now play around with the code within the project folder while seeing the changes automatically reflected from within a web browser.
2. You can test your apps with the Velocity framework.
Back in July, the Meteor Development Group announced Velocity — the official testing framework for Meteor. This was a highly requested addition and, while Velocity is much younger than Meteor itself, it’s already hit version 1.0.
To get started with Velocity visit the GitHub repo. You may also want to see the roadmap for an idea of what to expect in the future.
3. Comprehensive support for Cordova is built-in.
Cordova is platform for creating mobile applications with web technologies and, these days, it’s built right into Meteor. This means, out of the box, a Meteor developer can:
- Access native functions on smart phones (like the camera).
- Test their applications within the iOS and Android simulator.
- Release their applications on the iOS and Android stores.
This functionality might not replace native development, but for developers hoping to maintain a single codebase, it’s a huge convenience.
4. Packages can now be downloaded from an official server.
Packages are basically plugins for your Meteor projects. They make it easy to quickly add features to your applications using the command line. There’s a number of official packages included with every installation of Meteor, but there’s also thousands of third-party packages available online.
Originally, these packages were only available through atmospherejs.com — a community-run site. But while that site remains a great resource for browsing packages, there’s now an official package server.
Because of this change:
- You don’t need to install anything extra to add packages to a project. You just use the
meteor addcommand, followed by the name of a package.
- You can search for packages from the command line with the
meteor searchcommand (and use the
meteor showcommand to see the details of a package).
Publishing packages is also simpler than ever, encouraging developers to release more code for the masses to use. (At this point, there’s a little over 2,500 packages available for download.)
5. The API is stable.
Quite a lot has changed about Meteor over the past couple of years. Even in the most recent update, certain aspects of the API were deprecated. From this point onward though, we can expect the API to be far stabler.
Because the Meteor Development Group plans to sustain itself by selling to the enterprise market — a market that doesn’t appreciate the need to regularly revise parts of their codebase. So while we can expect to see plenty of great additions to Meteor, there’s also the peace of mind in knowing that anything you learn will continue to apply later down the line.
6. Performance has been improved in many areas.
In the early days of Meteor, developers worried that the framework wouldn’t scale. It’s a common concern with regards to most cutting-edge frameworks — Rails certainly had its fair share of troubles. But while Meteor may have some growing pains ahead, a lot of progress has already been made in the performance department. You only have to check out the changelog I linked to before to see the tweaks made with each release.
Meteor is young and there’s a long road ahead with plenty left to be excited about. Some of the more exciting features we can expect include:
- Native support for development on Windows.
- Galaxy — “a managed cloud platform for deploying Meteor apps”.
- Compatability with database types beyond MongoDB.
For other insight into what to expect though, definitely check out the Meteor roadmap. Meteor might be young but, quite clearly, it has a bright future.