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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