Over the years I have dipped in and out of a few different server side languages. PHP, Ruby, ColdFusion and Java to mention some. I guess the root of my issues with them is how infrequently I need to use them. It does not help that none of them share any development paradigms outside OO.
Some one mentioned Node.js to me when I discussed some ideas I was toying with. I immediately blanked them on the grounds that JS is client side and I specifically had a server side problem to resolve. I brushed the dust of my PHP book and got to work.
As what always happens to me when I am building things in PHP I ran into problems. As always I vent at a few friends to blow of some steam. As I did this people I knew kept on mentioning Node.js.
After watching the video on the node.js website see link above I was flabbergasted at how easy it was. I figured I could build my solusion in no more than one day. I installed it on my server. Which took all of 10 min. no really thats how long it took me to download the files compile the latest build and install it. It was disgracefully fast.
So I got to work. One and a half hours later I was was looking at my editor thinking surely i cant be done there must be now way its that easy to set up two TCP servers and an http server. Yet it was done plain as day all running and working.
If you are going to give it a try i recommend npm which is the plugin manger for Node.js and using it to install forever which helps you manege which servers you want to keep up. all links are at the top of the post. Obviously i would recommend it. I have even heard it runs on some shared hosts admittedly a little cut down but more than enough to inspire.