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?
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.
- 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
- 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;
- healthcare for self-monitoring;
- connected cars, and many others.
Building an ecosystem of connected devices with Node.js is a smart choice. IoT devices generate a large number of requests that require quick processing. Node.js handles these requests effectively without any downtime. Besides that, Node.js servers can store large amounts of data produced by IoT devices. Finally, as Node.js doesn’t load device memory much, it can be integrated with single-board controllers to build digital devices for the IoT ecosystem.
Node.js perfectly suits for building social networking apps, streaming services, collaboration tools, interactive commercial websites, instant messengers, and many others. All these apps have one common feature – they can transmit live text, audio, or video data in groups or face-to-face interaction.
With event-driven structure and web sockets, Node.js can easily process real-time flows with intense traffic and maintain data streaming with readable and writable data streams on a high level. As a result, users don’t experience any delay in the data exchange or its updating.
Single-Page Applications (SPAs)
A single-page application (SPA) represents a single page on a browser with dynamically changing data in it. This type of apps doesn’t need to load the entire new page to display the data to the user. SPAs load much faster than regular websites and can considerably enhance user experience in the areas of low-speed internet connection.
Apps With Microservices Architecture
Any application based on microservice architecture can be easily built with Node.js. This architecture type involves the utilization of separate modules with small functionalities which are integrated into a stand-alone application. Software developers often use microservices architecture to build complex and large enterprise applications. This helps to improve the apps’ scalability and makes them simple to modify.
To build microservices architecture, software developers use native Node.js frameworks such as Koa.js and Express.js and a Docker platform. All these tools allow developing robust apps and quickly releasing them to the market.
Main Trends in Node.js to Watch in 2022
Node.js is a dynamically developing environment that improves every year. It helps businesses to reach their full potential by offering them the latest technologies to build their digital solutions. Here are some of the most discussed and implemented Node.js trends of 2022.
GraphQL is a query language used for requesting data in JSON format from the server. The most outstanding feature of GraphQL is that with this language users can request certain data from the server, avoiding problems with data over-fetching or under-fetching. This results in faster data loading, logical, hierarchical, and strongly-typed language structure.
According to the State of JS, GraphQL has been rated the first most interesting, satisfying, and used technology for managing data layers in apps.
MEAN and MERN Stacks
The two outstanding stacks MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular, Node.js) and MERN (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js) will keep their leading positions in the field of app development in 2022.
Both technologies are super powerful solutions for building dynamic and single-page web applications. These stacks are used by big tech companies such as Netflix, UberEats, Instagram, Accenture, Onkore, Inc., and others.
Those businesses that don’t want to depend much on hardware and spend hours on configuring app servers opt for serverless architecture. In this case, all the software and hardware problems are handled by a platform provider like AWS Lambda, Azure, or Google Cloud while software developers focus on the key features of the built app.
Node.js gets easily integrated into the cloud platforms with serverless architecture services. This way, software developers can considerably cut down the development costs, provide high code quality, and ensure great flexibility of their apps.
Why Use Node.js? Main Things to Consider
Node.js has the best tools for the development of various applications and it’s highly popular among software developers. Nevertheless, like any other development platform Node.js has its own pros and cons.
Here is a quick list of cases you should keep in mind when considering this powerful software development environment for your apps.
Use Node.js when you need to build:
- complex, enterprise-level apps with microservices architecture;
- real-time apps with live streaming services;
- collaboration tools for teamwork;
- apps that heavily rely on scalability with intense traffic and a constantly rising number of users.
Consider other than Node.js solutions with you want to create:
- apps that require heavy computing on the server-side – Node.js utilized only one CPU core, this way, heavy computing can result in blocking all the I/O requests;
- CRUD applications – this type of apps receive the data directly from the server without using any APIs, therefore, Node.js functionality can be excessive for such apps;
- monolithic architecture – although it’s possible to build a monolithic architecture with Node.js, it will be hard to scale due to Node.js’s single-threaded event loop, slow start-up time, and redeployment of the entire application with each update.
Node.js is an increasingly popular back-end development environment that facilitates the development of versatile applications for large companies, SMEs, and start-ups. This robust solution offers an extensive set of development tools for creating real-time apps, IoT app