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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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
Why is Node.js framework so popular?
Main benefits of Node.js framework
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.