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Why and When to Use Node.js For Your Projects

Building an ideal tech stack for a powerful, secure, and robust digital solution can be a rather challenging task. There are a variety of programming languages and frameworks that impact the efficiency of an application. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right tech stack from the very start of an app development project.

When it comes to developing eCommerce sites, messengers, streaming services, and others many software developers opt for Node js. But why is Node.js considered to be one of the best environments for building these kinds of apps? In this article, we look into the reasons why software developers prefer Node.js for building their apps and explain what other digital solutions Node.js is good for.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is more than just a framework, it’s an independent runtime based on Chrome’s V8, a JavaScript engine. It means that Node.js represents a runtime environment that can execute an application code itself regardless of a browser or operating system type. This turns Node.js into a standalone application on any machine.

Other Node.js features include:

  • A Single-Threaded Non-Blocking Input/Output

This operating model allows executing operations asynchronously, proceeding with other requests instead of waiting for I/O operations to complete. As a result, the solutions developed on Node.js have a higher productive capacity and can handle more concurrent client requests than the apps with a multi-threaded blocking model.

  • JavaScript for Back-End Development 

By using JavaScript for building the front-end and back-end of an app, software developers can connect the two layers more easily and smoothly between each other with a minimum number of merging errors between the codes. Moreover, software developers can use a TypeScript package to use this programming language in Node.js.

  • A Package Manager for Node.js (npm)

The npm contains more than 600,000 open-source and free packages from simple libraries to full-fledged frameworks that can significantly accelerate application development. Besides that, this package manager helps software developers to better structure and organize their codes.

  • Sockets and Event-Driven Architecture

By using a socket mechanism, a server or a client can quickly exchange and update data with other clients connected to a specific group. This technology is widely implemented for building chat rooms or streaming services. Meanwhile, event-driven and non-blocking architecture alleviates work with Node.js sockets, turning it into a simple and fast application development activity.

  • A Variety of Tools for Building Diverse Apps

With Node.js software developers can build cross-platform mobile applications for Android and iOS, web applications, as well as desktop solutions. The diversity of Node.js-based apps can be traced to the most successful apps built with this framework. They include Mozilla, Groupon, GoDaddy, Slack, Trello, Skype, and many others.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Node.js

According to the StackOverflow survey Node.js takes the 6th place in the list of the most commonly used programming languages and frameworks. There are several reasons why developers choose Node.js for web development projects:

  • Easy to learn
  • Strong community support
  • Scalability
  • Cost-effective
  • High performance
  • Cross-platform development

First, it is easy-to-learn especially if you have previous knowledge of JS. If you know the syntax, all you will need to learn is about commonly used APIs in it. Moreover, Node.js is an open-source framework with a large community of developers who support and enhance it. So you can get support from expert developers all over the world to solve any issue that may arise while learning or using it.

Another advantage of Node.js is that developers can easily scale their applications in horizontal and vertical directions by adding extra nodes. Multiple nodes can be run at a time while the environment will balance the workload automatically.

Node.js is also a good choice to build cross-platform real-time web applications which significantly cuts down development time and costs.There is no need to develop an application for Windows, Linux, and macOS separately nor to hire developers for each platform. Additionally if Node.js developers have knowledge in Angular, React.js or Vue.js they can build both application  front-end and backend.

One of the key benefits of Node.js is caching. Caching services are important for app performance in general.  ​Each time a request is sent the server application executes the entire code and retrieves information from the database. By using cache, the server application returns the information from memory instead of executing the code to process subsequent requests.

These are just a few advantages of Node.js that make such giants as Linkedin, Uber, NASA, Netflix, eBay, PayPal use it for enterprise application development. There are a lot more benefits it brings to various businesses from start-ups to corporations. But let’s have a look at some disadvantages it has.

  • Unstable API
  • Node.js Asynchronous Programming
  • Lack of library support
  • Lack of experienced Node.js developers

Most Node.js developers claim frequent API changes as one of the most important drawbacks.

So far there were many changes to Node.js API with the 18.2.0 version available currently and not all of those changes are backwards compatible. To maintain compatibility with the latest version of Node.js API, developers need to make changes in the accessible code base each time the new version appears.

Node.js lags behind when executing heavy CPU-based computing for being single-threaded and event-driven that results in slow processing and overall delay in the event loop.

If there is a great number of queued tasks running in the background, it can result in the so-called “callback hell.” Callbacks are the functions that run after a task is finished. The callbacks can get nested within each other which directly impacts the performance and the quality of the code itself. This is because of the asynchronicity of Node.js.

Lack of a well-equipped and robust library system makes it difficult to use Node.js for simple programming tasks like image processing, database operations, and XML parsing, etc.

And the last but not least issue with Node.js is a lack of skilled experienced developers available on the market. The demand for Node.js development is constantly increasing, whereas the number of developers is lagging behind which makes companies compete for highly-qualified Node.js developers. Our company has a team of Node.js developers available for hiring right away. We guarantee a fast team ramp up and kick off time together with a transparent working process and quick knowledge transfer.

What is Node.js Used for?

Node.js has got a wide range of advantages. It’s a lightweight, robust, and easy to scale environment that facilitates software development. Though, what type of applications can software developers build with Node.js? Let’s have a closer look at where we can use Node.js.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things represents an ecosystem of various automated computer devices and digital machines that can exchange data with each other without any human interference. The technology is used in a broad variety of cases and diverse industries. Some IoT examples include:

  • agriculture automation;
  • Smart Houses and Cities;
  • retail analytics and logistics;