What is Meteor?
Meteor is a way of writing applications that are ready for 2012, not 1996.
The first "web apps" in 1996 consisted of a web server and a database on the same rack, sending rendered HTML down to a web browser, in an arrangement much like the "dumb terminals" of the mainframe era. To this day, all of the mainstream web frameworks, from LAMP to Rails, still work on this model. All of the mainstream web technologies, from nginx to memcached, assume this model.
Meteor is a new application platform for this new era. It is built around Smart Packages: little bundles of code that can run on a client, inside a cloud service, or both, and that can manage their lifetime inside the modern distributed environment.
Meteor provides a Smart Package to address each of the main challenges that developers face in this new world, such as updating a web page automatically when data changes, or performing a "hot code push" to update a running application without users noticing the change. Developers can freely pick and choose the Smart Packages they would like to use in their app. Meteor then processes the Smart Packages together with their application into a self-contained bundle that is ready to deploy into the cloud.
We hope that as the Meteor ecosystem grows, a wide array of Smart Packages will become available, from complex distributed cloud services, to attractive user interface components, to time-saving business process frameworks. It will be a snap for any developer to build powerful, modern applications — applications well prepared to handle the next two decades of technological change.