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Denis Grankin Head of Sales Department
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Node.JS web app development

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pros and cons of node js

Node JS, a Java Script Open Source server environment, used for server-side and network app development, is one of the most popular programming languages in 2019. Node.js is used by big companies and small businesses alike. In addition to that, more than 80 000 websites are written in Node.js technology. Paypal, Netflix, Medium - this is just a shortlist of well-known platforms built with Node.js.

What is Node.JS programming?

Node.js is based on JavaScript and is most often used for back-end and front-end development. Applying Node.js allows developers to use JavaScript across the stack, applying technologically similar solutions to every problem in the project. Sure, we can’t solve all problems with one solution but utilizing similar programming languages for various code segments makes testing and maintenance easier. It’s the main advantage of implementing Node.js in a software development project. Seeing that JavaScript is the most popular programming language in 2019 so far, using Node.js for servers makes sense - this way, all code is built with the same principles in mind.

Where to use Node.js in a software development project?

The strongest suite of Node.js is in making scalable network applications, processing multiple connections simultaneously. If traditional web-serving methods require each connection to create a new thread, Node.js requires only one thread for all connections. You end up with one big thread rather than a complicated structure of intertwined threads.

Where Node.js really shines is in building fast, scalable network applications, as it’s capable of handling a huge number of simultaneous connections with high throughput, which equates to high scalability.

Multiple requests

Typically, each thread additionally takes up 2MB of data, plus the connections between threads also require extra space. With Node JS, this extra load is fully eliminated.

Node.js and modules

In Node.js, each feature is done with the independent module that corresponds to a particular piece of functionality. You can have a separate module for handling networking, another one for managing I/O file systems, and others for data buffering.

If you need to edit a particular piece of functionality, you simply need to access the corresponding module and edit only that segment of code. It’s a great feature for complex server development where you have complicated functionality in a single project.

When it comes to management, you can assign a responsible developer for handling each module. It increases your scalability capacities and improves the controllability of the process.

What is Node.js used for?

Node.js is used for projects that require active use of JavaScript on front and backend of the project. This already gives us insights into the main purpose of the Node.js applied when developing websites and web apps.

Node.js can be used for developing various web project components - here are the most common ones.

1. Static file server

It’s a server where the website loads and stores static content - data that is not modified or processed before it’s displayed on a client-server. Unlike dynamic content, which can vary from user to user and depend on online interactions, static content is always the same. As a result, it loads quickly and doesn’t require much space.

the static server

Node.js is perfect at handling input-output (I/O) data due to its single-thread design which makes it an obvious choice for such a task. In the end, you’ll have a lightweight and simple server that will return files to a particular URL whenever the user sent a request.

2. Web Application framework

The main advantages of Node.js framework are speed, productivity, and scalability. When using a front-end framework or a library (for instance, React.js), you should think about migrating the backend logic to Node.js in order to use one programming language.

how Node.js framework works

Benefits are obvious. You use the same tech language stack - no need to hire additional developers. Also, such frameworks as Express.js and Meteor.js structure your code, making testing and maintenance much easier. Some of them also have a built-in garbage collector and spot technical debt right away.

Single page application

A single page application is a web app that works without a page reload. The page content rewrites itself with the help of JavaScript code. The most popular examples of such apps are Gmail - notice how the page never reloads, even if you pick another message folder or perform an action.

differences between traditional web apps and single-page applications

Node.js, based on JavaScript, quickly processes the user’s request and immediately produces output without reloading the page.

Why is Node.js framework so popular?

Before Node.js was released, Java Script was used mostly for front-end development. With Node.js, using JavaScript for backend became a common practice. The number of Node.js frameworks just keeps growing - and for a good reason.

Main benefits of Node.js framework

Fast performance

Node.js is one of the fastest programming environments, so are the frameworks, based on Node.js. This fast I/O performance allows users to use the framework for static file serving, essential routing operations, and middleware messaging.

Extremely scalable

The software developers have an option to scale the Node.js applications in both vertical and horizontal manners. Not only can they scale the application horizontally by adding extra nodes to the existing system, but also they have an option to add more resources to individual nodes while scaling the Node.js application vertically.

Control flow

Some Node.js frameworks allow mapping and serializing functions, keeping your code in order. You don’t have to create complex functional structures, embedding one into another. The framework will group them automatically - and you can access the needed function a search, with no need to use a callback command all the time.

Automation

In a framework, you can automate all repetitive operations, share modification records, and schedule actions. A large built-in library of ready-to-use functionality and interface templates makes building a web application a walk in the park. All you have to do is specifying the requirements for the code - and framework will do the hard work. Of course, this development will be more primitive but still, enough to pass for the work of some juniors.

Node.js advantages for web development

Node.js is not a standard fix for any kind of web project. We already listed what kind of tasks it’s suited to perform the best - now it’s time to explain why we think so. Let’s review the main advantages of using Node.js for web development.

Active community

Node.js developers are actively participating in discussions on Stack Overflow and Medium blogs. Also, hiring a Node.js developer is far from being a difficult task. Many developers, proficient in Java and JavaScript, start learning Node. js - so we are likely to see a lot of qualified developers in the near future.

Full Stack JavaScript development

JavaScript is the most popular language in software development these days. It’s easy to find professional JS software developers and find an automation technology for development, testing, and maintenance. Node.js was the counter stone of this success, allowing developers to use JS for backend as well as front-end.

You can use a single programing language for the entire project, saving money on hiring new team members and acquiring additional assisting technology.

High processing capacities

Node.js is a one-threaded language, capable of processing more than dozens of thousands of requests simultaneously. Due to the low number of threads, the processed data is much lighter and the flow is more seamless than with other languages.

V8 Engine

This JS engine converts code, written in JavaScript into machine code. The thing is, JavaScript is a highly abstracted language that uses human language for code to increase readability. However, computer processors understand machine code - this one is much more technical and difficult to read. To make the JS code understood by the hardware, we need to convert it. Luckily, Node JS based on V8 Engine that quickly converts abstract code into the machine one.

Perfect for microservices

As the complexity of web projects grows, so the architecture has to evolve. Ten years ago, a common approach was a monolithic one - the functionality piled up from the most important features to the least important ones in a single branched-out structure.

differences between microservices and monolith architecture

With the introduction of microservices, things became much easier. Now, developers write a bunch of small services that are responsible for one function and connect them together into a project. Single-threaded Node.js suites perfectly for building such connections.

Diverse ecosystem

NPM, also known as Node.js Package Manager, has over 700 thousands of built-in features and ready-to-use modules. All you have to do is structure them in the right order and establish safe and reliable connections.

Node.js disadvantages for web app development

Even though Node.js is so universal, it’s not a one-for-everything framework. It suites to very specific tasks. On top of that, if you are unaware of some of its significant drawbacks, you should be ready not to meet your expectations.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, we collected the most critical disadvantages - so you know exactly what you are getting.

Poor handling of high CPU activity

Heavy computations block incoming requests. This is a big problem for Node.js, with its excellence in handling input-output processes. Basically, the main advantage of the language would turn into a problem and significantly slow down the performance of the end product.

Weak typing

Node.js allows you to run JavaScript on the server without a web browser. Being a weakly typed, not only does it have looser typing rules, but also it may perform implicit type conversion at runtime or produce unpredictable outcomes.

Key benefits of Node.js for web development

Below you’ll discover how to benefit from Node.js in web development:

  • The possibility of unifying backend and frontend development in the single stack.
  • One-threaded request handling. Instead of processing multiple heavy threads, all requests are compiled in a single thread.
  • Universality. Node.js can be used to create single-page applications, microservices, chat rooms, online games, APIs, data streaming apps, and many other web projects.
  • Popularity. This language is very common in the United States, India, Germany, and Canada. Finding an outsourcing team with Node.js proficiency shouldn’t be a problem.
  • The language is supported by Amazon Web Services, as well as Google Cloud and Heroku.

Bottom line

Node.js has taken software development by storm, quickly becoming one of the most popular solutions out there. This is not a surprise considering that we are living in the era of microservices and single-page application - and Node.js is perfect for both. Users prioritize speed, simplicity, responsive web pages over heavy interfaces and rich functionality - and Node.js shines there as well. Looking at these software development tendencies, one thing is apparent. Node.js will continue its growth and improvement, potentially becoming one of the most widespread programming technology.

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