Posted on December 20, 2021
Posted on December 20, 2021
To name a few, its users include Netflix, Uber, Paypal, and Linkedin, while more than 43% of Node.js developers use it for enterprise apps. Developers love to use Node.js as it allows them to build fast, scalable, flexible, lightweight, and cross-platform mobile and web applications.
In simple words, Node.js adapts JS functionality to backend programming.
The motive of Node.js creator, Ryan Dahl, was to empower developers to use the same technology stack for entire web development projects. This way, there is no need to learn new server-side platforms like PHP, Java, or .Net.
Moreover, the structure of Node.js is the core reason for its popularity.
Within three years of its debut in 2009, Node.js extended its application from Linux and macOS to Windows.
Today, the OpenJS Foundation is an umbrella organization with a massive community of developers for Node.js support. With 50% of positive responses, Node.js was considered the most popular tool in the “Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools” category in a 2019 Stack Overflow survey.
This guide will help you answer What is Node.js used for? What are Node.js advantages? Its different features and industry trends. So, let’s get going.
Here are some exciting features of Node.js which lie at its core and make it a popular choice in the industry.
The event-driven architecture of Node.js uses a non-blocking I/O system that allows you to process multiple requests concurrently without any delay.
In simple words, in traditional synchronous programming, every request blocks a thread, while all subsequent requests have to wait until the processing is finished.
In Node.js, to remain lightweight and efficient, each request uses the same thread one after another instead of starting a separate thread for each request.
As a result, your mobile or web app will require comparatively less RAM, perform faster, and become highly scalable. Here, Node.js, with its event loop mechanism, fills the gap by handling a large number of user requests with high throughput.
What allows continuous processing of a single thread? Linux is the answer. It is a multi-platform C library designed for the Node.js environment to abstract non-blocking i/o.
Behind the scenes, this multi-platform support library (Libuv) creates a pool of threads to make synchronous into asynchronous. Additionally, it interacts with the OS, which manages the timing.
Node package manager (or ‘NPM’) is a default tool with every Node.js installation. The NPM does some crucial things. Firstly, it is a free marketplace of Node.js packages – a group of publicly available, reusable components. Further, developers can use it as a command-line service to interact with the repository.
There were approximately 1.3 million packages on the NPM registry in April 2020, and millions of worldwide programmers rely on it. In addition, NPM is a free online repository of Node.js projects with version management support.
To start your development project with Node.js, here are the resources to refer to and install, including the runtime environment, Node Package Manager, editing tool, and Node.Js frameworks.
However, to fully leverage Node.js true potential, you should prefer specific IDEs or customize your existing editors as per your need. Most developers use specific tools like Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text, WebStorm, Atom, and Eclipse.
Node.js embarks a new way of software development with its even-based I/O architecture. This means you can initiate two-way communication between the client and the server.
Below are the reasons why Node.js surpasses traditional frameworks:
Till now, we have understood that using Node.js ensures fast and efficient applications, and its textbook example includes real-time chat or messaging apps.
Real-time applications need a steady connection between server and client. Further, there ought to be no lag or delay from the time request is laid and the callback occurs.
Today, online communication can be exchanged for text, audio, or videos. Also, chats can be one-to-one or one-to-many. Node.js supports Websockets, which is the industry’s one of the best real-time communication solutions.
Along with this, Node also has an Event API. This API allows developers to create particular objects (“emitter”) that systematically issue events such as “listened” by event handlers. This helps in implementing server-side events and push notifications.
The Internet of Things is a collection of physical devices that share data via the internet, such as sensors and actuators. Data flow is generally from devices to servers, where it is processed and finally sent to the user applications.
An IoT system may comprise any number of devices (can be in thousands). Such scenarios make managing data streams between the devices and servers challenging. Node.js is an optimal solution here.
Using Node.js for the back-end in IoT applications ensures it processes multiple concurrent requests and data streams emitted by devices. Thus, servers of Node.js work smoothly and do not get blocked.
Also, Node.js serves as a fast and smooth application layer between IoT devices and databases. The developers can also leverage the low memory requirements of Node.js.
Real-time collaboration tools allow concurrent access on the same app, i.e., multiple users working simultaneously on the same app in real-time. In today’s world, where remote working is a norm, more and more collaborative applications are being used.
Some of the most famous examples of collaboration apps include “Slack” for group chats, Google Docs for online collaborative editing of a doc, and Trello for project management.
Here Node.js is a perfect fit as collaborative apps generate many events and I/O requests concurrently. Moreover, Node.js asynchronous and event-based architecture ensures all users have a coherent application view.
Node uses its WebSockets and Event API to ensure that all the extensive data and requests from multiple users do not make the server hang. Also, it makes sure to deliver all server-side data to the client without any delay.
Streaming applications are a type of on-demand software apps. Apps like these send large amounts of information in small chunks instead of one large package. This reduces the server load as well as frees the local device.
Also, such apps can run without any internet connection once a batch is downloaded. The most famous examples of streaming apps are Netflix, Hotstar, and more.
The Stream API is a Node.js feature that enables data streaming. Developers can create and process both readable and writable data streams.
Node.js was created to support scalability. It is a lightweight technology that you can use to develop apps to sustain high peak loads. Apps based on micro-service architecture such as the global taxi network “Uber” and social media apps like Linkedin consider Node.js the best solution.
The Node.js environment supports multiple independent nodes to run parallel and communicate. This enables developers to stack more micro-services on each other.
Also, the cluster module in the Node.js balances load for every running CPU core. This way, the environment balances the workload and does not affect the performance.
On top of it, it is a part of the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, and Node.js) which are today the most crucial part of web development.
Check yourself how fast the V8 is here. Another reason which makes Node.js fast is its suitability with the micro-service architecture.
Node.js is governed by the OpenJS Foundation that supports its enhancements. Also, you have access to a lot of reusable code for your mobile or web application development project. You can also review codes and find answers if you get stuck in these communities.
The npm registry in Node.js offers thousands of free code packages for you to reuse. The npm ecosystem is open to all and free of cost. This plays a vital role in advancing technology and makes the Node.js ecosystem rich.
The true advantage of the Node.js environment is scalability, better than any other backend platform. Node.js allows developers to scale their applications both vertically and horizontally.
Since each node in Node.js works around an event, multiple nodes can run simultaneously and communicate independently. On top of it, you can add limitless numbers of nodes to the Node.js core. The room to grow your application is the crucial benefit of Node.js.
Discussing the advantages of Node.js brings to light its cross-platform support. It’s common these days where a mobile app links to a desktop app. Node.js can be used as cross-platform mobile development for Cordova, Apache, Titanium.
In simple words, you can directly transfer your mobile application code to the desktop app. Isn’t it great? You can save significant time and money.
In discussing the advantages of Node.js, caching facility is a crucial benefit. Node.js supports single module caching. Therefore, as the request is made to the app, the first module is cached in-app memory. This allows the application to run efficiently and load faster.
Node.js has been widely accepted for its scalable, fast, and event-driven architecture. Some big names in the industry rely on the Node.js environment for its different advantages. Here are the major players using Node.js:
Welcome to the real-time web. Here is a glimpse of some of the most frequently asked Node.js queries for your basic understanding:
No. Node.js is neither a framework nor a library. Instead, Node.js is an environment with back-end frameworks within it. Some examples are Express and Socket.
Node.js is a single-threaded environment, making it a poor choice for high computational servers and applications. In addition, the heavy computation puts a high load on the server’s response time.
PHP is a scripting language, while Node.js supports server-side events and WebSockets. As a result, Node.js is easier to implement and suitable for all applications, including IoT, chats, or social media. On the other hand, PHP is optimal for standard solutions like websites, blogs, and CMS, where Node.js may not make severe improvements.
Node.js is single-threaded, which is its advantage and disadvantage. For high-load applications with extensive calculations, Java will work better. In all other cases, Node.js is faster, scalable, and flexible.
Node.js is heavily used by unicorns and early startups alike, including companies like Netflix, Uber, Groupon, and more.
No wonder Node.js is so popular. It is a powerful tool to develop fast, efficient, scalable, and lightweight mobile and web applications. But, of course, nothing is perfect, and Node.js also has advantages and disadvantages.
However, its great ecosystem and agile design make it ideal for startups and big companies alike. Unless you want to develop a CPU-intensive application, the pros of Node.js outweigh its cons.
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