My question is.. do I bite the bullet and learn the whole node.js on the server thing.. or just stick to js files I can link to old-school? I have lots of work right now and I’m not looking for a long detour.
Node.JS is something all the cool kids are doing. In the real world of client work there is nothing wrong with just having vanilla scripts or calling in specific libraries.
Node.JS is really intended for applications rather than front end sites, or those that need to do quite a lot of scripting, realistically, does anyone need that for a standard website? Not really, PHP/HTML/CSS and regular JS do the trick.
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Node.js is a backend language and is equally as important to a front-end developer as Python/Ruby/PHP. PHP is just the most widely used (based on my experience) and is easiest to get a web page up and running on from “scratch”.