The Pros and Cons of Node.js Web Application Development

Node.js Web Application

JavaScript- the most popular scripting programming languages, serves as a cross-platform mobile app development tool for the platforms such as Apache Cordova, React Native, Appcerlerator, Titanium and many more. With the model of concurrency and no concept of the thread, JavaScript differentiated itself as the best than other dynamic languages. However, Node.js can be credited for the JavaScript’s popularity as it helped JavaScript for the server-side implementations which reduced a lot of complexities of using two different languages at both the ends.

The event-driven architecture of Node.js came into existence in 2009 and utilizes basic modules written in JavaScript.  Node.js enables developers to run JavaScript on the web servers but it is different from other commonly used JavaScript frameworks. It interprets the JavaScript code through Google’s V8 JavaScript engine and provides speed and efficiency in the development environment.

Let’s go through the benefits and drawbacks of Node.js:

The Pros:

  • Supports the same language both on client and server side:

As Node.js supports JavaScript, it enables the developers to use preferred and same programming language on both front-end and back-end to create the best web 2.0 applications. This means, Node.js web application requires less code compared to other languages for front-end and back-end. Node.js supports reusability of code between front-end and back-end which can speed up the development process. Thus, the company can avoid hiring the separate developers for backend as well as front-end and can cut-off much of the overhead cost.

  • Offers high performance

Node.js executes JavaScript code via Google’s V8 JavaScript engine which compiles the JavaScript code into machine code at execution by implementing Just-In-Time compiler. V8 translates JavaScript code into a machine code instead of using an interpreter which makes it faster and easier to implement the code in an effective manner. Moreover, run-time environment increases the code execution speed significantly by supporting non-blocking I/O operations.

  • Active Community

The Node.js community is very large and active who works towards the constant improvements on Node.js.  Due to the support of JavaScript programmers and their contribution towards the community, you can get access to a ton of ready and easy solutions and codes in NPM. The community is evolving and contributing great towards the further development and improvement to provide the best and reliable solutions.

  • Simultaneous Request Handling

As Node.js works on non-blocking I/O model, it is the best for handling the large volume of requests from the web and other networks. Node.js web application can perform an asynchronous task to the event loop (a single threaded loop), along with the call back function and then continue to execute the rest of the program. After completing asynchronous operations, event loop returns to the task to execute call back. Incoming requests are queued up and executed sequentially in a fast manner achieving high scalability levels.

  • The advantage of caching

Caching is a technique to improve the performance of any application, be it desktop, mobile or web. The open source run environment of Node.js supports caching of individual modules. Modules get cached in the node.js web application memory whenever there is any module request for the first time. This caching feature enables the application to load the web pages and respond to the user requests quickly, without requiring the module code to be re-executed.

  • Easy to learn

Since the coding in JavaScript is easy, developers can have a good grasp of it. As JavaScript is supported by each web browser and server, it becomes easier for the business to deploy node.js web application effectively.  Once the developers are mastered with the basics of object-oriented programming, they are good enough to start with it.  JavaScript as a programming language increases the programmer productivity, code reusability and consumes less time to work with it. Moreover, there are many interactive tutorials available on GitHub which makes the learning experience more pleasant.

  • Facilitates real-time application development

Node.js is widely used by JavaScript developers for developing real-time and multi-user applications like chat apps, games and headless browsers like chat bots, voice user interface applications like Alexa etc. Node.js possesses an event-driven architecture which accepts large requests by using minimal resources and time. It further uses a web socket protocol which handles multi-user function, and speed up bidirectional communication, preventing the overhead of HTTP for web development.

The Cons:

  • Unstable API

One of the key problems that developers encounter in Node.js is that API keeps on changing at some intervals and the new API of Echma script adds significant new syntax for writing complex applications including classes and modules. Thus, programmers are bound to modify the existing code base to match the compatibility with the latest version of Node.js API.

  • Doesn’t have a standard library

JavaScript doesn’t possess the robust library system when compared with other programming languages. Hence, the users need to take the support of common libraries for performing various tasks such as image processing, object-relational mapping, handling database operations, XML parsing and much more. Ultimately, it becomes difficult to accomplish common programming tasks while using Node.js.

  • Not suitable for heavy computing apps

As Node.js doesn’t support multi-threaded programming, it is usually not recommended for performing long-running calculations. Heavy computations queue up the incoming requests which can lead to a decrease in performance. The whole process increases the time required by a node.js web application to respond to the users’ request and makes it difficult to use the runtime environment for the computational intensive task.

Wrapping it up…

Despite the shortcomings, Node.js offers a good number of features to write a variety of server-side and networking applications and real-time Web APIs in JavaScript. Today, most of the business organizations look to opt for Node.js to drive the positive results.

Want to develop your next project in Node.js? Talk to our expert to know how we can help you to deliver the scalable solution.

Benefits of Using Node.js for Web Application Development

Node.js for Web Application Development

A brief history….

Ryan Dahl is the creator of Node.js; He thought of this language after facing glitches in file upload progress bar on Flicker. The Browser lacked the capability to know how many files had been uploaded. During that time, Apache HTTP Server was unable to handle concurrent connections (up to 10,000 and more) and with sequential programming, the code either blocked the entire process or resulted in multiple execution stacks in case of simultaneous connections. Thus, he looked for the easy ways to get the things done faster. Node.js came into existence and major perks included were – reduced time-to-market, dynamic Node.js web applications, high agility, support for the development of highly functional mobile apps to name a few.

About Node.js

Node.js is an open-source cross-platform built on Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. It executes JavaScript code on server-side at run-time and is best for building fast and scalable network applications. It is light-weight, competent and perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices. Moreover, it contains built-in library that allows applications to act as a Web server without software such as Apache HTTP Server.

Benefits of using Node.js for Web Application Development

  • One language on both front-end and back-end

One of the most critical issue in the web app development is the use of multiple languages and environments on both back-end and front-end.  Node.js which is written in JavaScript eliminates the need for using multiple languages. You can leverage the power of JavaScript by using your preferred and same programming language in your front-end and back-end framework such as React, Ember, and Angular etc. to create the best web 2.0 applications.  If you’re using the same language in front-end and back-end, you will need fewer resources and that can cut-off your much overhead cost.

  • Event-driven, non-blocking I/O model to perform fast operations

Node.js uses asynchronous architecture to perform I/O operations which is the best for handling the large volume of requests from web and other networks. Before Node.js, I/O operations were performed synchronously or were multi-threaded which means threads can be blocked while waiting for the replies from the database and also consumed much of the memory. But, with Node.js, applications can perform an asynchronous task to the event loop (a single threaded loop), along with the call back function and then continue to execute the rest of the program. After completing asynchronous operations, event loop returns to the task to execute call back. Moreover, Reading/writing to the network connection, reading/writing to the filesystem, and reading /writing to the database is executed very fast.

  • Node Package Manager to increase code reusability

As Node.js is an open source technology, it has the code repository of the best tools and modules that developers can use within their project. By default, it comes with every Node.js installation and includes more than 350,000 packages for creating effective web solutions. Using these packages, it becomes easy for the Node.js developers to easily update, share and reuse important codes without much effort. Moreover, it is also easy to work on the core applications without knowing what’s around it and built-in modules will take care of the rest. Anyone can take advantage of module ecosystem and can even publish their module which will be listed in npm repository.

  • Data Streaming

Node.js possess the capabilities of data streaming which transfers a large amount of data such as audio files, videos, photographs etc. by breaking the data into manageable chunks. This chunk of data occupies less memory; so, they are less likely to slow down the device. This saves much of the time and enables the user to carry out different operations.

  • Real-time applications

Node.js possesses an event-driven architecture which accepts large requests by using minimal resources and time; hence, it is ideal for developing real-time application especially chat apps, games and headless browsers like chat bots, Alexa etc.  It has some plug-ins that implements a web-socket protocol. This enables two-way communication channels between client and server which means a server can push data as easily as a client can. Hence, the performance of the applications doesn’t degrade even if there is a sudden surge in the traffic. Generally, real-time apps are equipped with high-volume of data continuously and chances of getting app crashed are almost high. But Node.js refrains your app getting crashed.

Brands are already using it

PayPal: Initially, PayPal was using Java on server side and JavaScript on the browser side. They thought of experimenting by developing a prototype on Node.js and java too. For developing a prototype in Java, they assigned 5 developers and 2 developers were assigned for Node.js. Unpredictably they got great results in Node.js with the team of 2 developers in prototype development.  After running the test cases with the same functionalities of Node.js and java; it was found that,

  • Node.js can be written in 33% fewer lines of codes.
  • It is very fast and takes half of the time to develop an application compared to java

35% decrease in the average response time for the same page. This resulted in the pages being served 200ms faster”

The reason they wanted to use Node.js was to handle 100% business availability even with the huge load.

Uber

Uber – a peer-to-peer ride sharing and taxi services platform always wished for a transportation that is reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.  According to Uber, “Node.js is the best for writing system that has all their state in memory”.

They found 3 core strengths in Node.js i.e:

  • It handles asynchronous I/O requests with a non-blocking, single-threaded event loop so it is hassle-free for Uber to handle a volume of information quickly.
  • As Node.js is the best for quick iteration, developers can use new codes instantly and errors can be addressed easily without requiring a restart.
  • It gets better all time as its open source community is constantly optimizing the technology.

Taking into account these considerations, Node.js has set the standards for web app development and is definitely the go-to technology for start-ups and enterprises. If you are looking to develop next enterprise app; then Node.js is definitely worth a try.

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