What exactly is Node JS?

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that is an open-source platform that uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. It is a lightweight and efficient JavaScript framework built on Chrome’s V8 engine. Node modules are perfect for data-intensive real-time applications for building highly scalable server-side web applications using JavaScript that runs across distributed devices. However, it is essential to find a top-notch Node js development company to build network programs like ASP.NET, web servers, or similar to PHP.

Table of Content

  1. Node.js: JavaScript Runtime Environment
  2. Why and How to proceed with Node JS?
  3. NPM: Node Package Manager
  4. What is Node Used For?
  5. Perks of NodeJS Framework
  6. Cons of NodeJS
  7. Final Thoughts

Node js offers utility libraries used during the execution time. The JavaScript engine implementation is independent of the runtime environment. JavaScript runtime environment executes front-end web applications in a browser and access to the window object. Event loop, callback queue, setTimeout function internal working, event table, and message queue are the part of JavaScript runtime environment. 

1. Node.js: JavaScript Runtime Environment

As we all know, Node js is a powerful server-side platform to develop online chat applications, single-page applications, video streaming sites, and much more. Many established companies and startups alike Paypal, Walmart, Netflix, and NASA uses it. 

It is an open-source and free web development platform used by thousands of web developers around the world. It offers numerous benefits and features to the table, making it a better choice compared to other server-side platforms like PHP or Java.

If you are a newbie to Node.js and planning to speed up on core concepts, then this article will give you a detailed introduction to the main fundamentals of this web development framework. Here we’re going to cover the basics of Node modules, why and how to proceed with Node.js, what Node.js is used for, and the pros and cons of Node.js. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

2. Why and How to Proceed with Node JS?

Putting together a technology stack for a software project is a task itself. Before starting a project development process, choosing the right programming languages, tools, and platforms helps you to determine a lot of aspects of the future app functioning. So, make sure to make the right choice in the beginning.

Node.js is a JavaScript platform to handle asynchronous JavaScript code and perform various activities such as reading and writing to the file system, handling Apache HTTP server requests, or handling simultaneous connections to database traditional servers.

For handling asynchronous programming code, Node uses a callback function based on a system. This callback function is called whenever the asynchronous operation is removed.

Node provides the ability to create your web server which can handle HTTP requests to run the Node.js application. The best web servers include Nginx, Apache, and Microsoft’s Internet Information Services. Other web servers include IBM’s family of Domino servers, Novell’s NetWare server, and Google web server.

Let’s see How to Proceed!

Node.js provides a child_process module that offers multiple ways to create child processes. When you’re working with Node.js, you won’t need an Apache HTTP server because Node.js itself will serve as a Server while using the Express framework. You can use the Express framework for Node.js which allows you to create limited threads for multi-page web applications.

Node.js is a JavaScript platform to develop server-side applications by following the single-threaded model with event looping and is mainly inspired by JavaScript with a callback function mechanism. Thanks to Node.js which is the most powerful JavaScript runtime environment that allows you to access the file system, and other things which are not allowed in the webserver.

It is a single-threaded event loop, it uses multiple threads in the background to execute the asynchronous programming code and nonblocking which means the callback function is delegated to the event loop but executed by different threads.

However, Node.js is a single-threaded event loop similar to JavaScript, but it is not purely JavaScript code which implies asynchronous things.

3. NPM: Node Package Manager

While we are trying to understand the basics of Node.js, we can’t miss out on its built-in support for package management using the node package manager. Node Package Manager is a command-line tool that installs or uninstalls Node.js packages in your application. 

The Node package manager is the most prized possession of the Node community and it contains thousands of downloadable libraries according to the project requirements.

These libraries are free of cost with their registry and it is getting bigger rapidly, making the Node.js community stronger. It is also an online repository for open-source Node. 

As we all know, the npm repository is the largest software registry which contains more than 800,000 code packages to manage private development and provide useful functions to interact with the file system.

The latest version of Node.js 14.17.1 has some remarkable features, making it even more stable, enhanced performance, and improved diagnosis. This has made the life of the programmers more delightful by deploying extraordinary experiences for users.

Another important use for npm repositories is dependency management. When you’re working with a node project with a package.json file, run package manager install from the project root and it will install all the dependencies which are listed in the package.json. 

With this, installing a Node.js latest version project from a git repo becomes easier!

For instance, a Node.js testing framework can be installed from git, and it can be automatically handled:

git clone https://github.com/cloudhead/vows.git cd vows npm install

Once you implement those commands, you can see the node_modules folders containing project dependencies specified in the package.json.

3.1 Benefits of NPM

As we all know, npm is an excellent tool for Node.js and JavaScript web developers that provides a quick and simple way to handle, install, and share npm packages. Some of the popular request packages allow developers to make HTTP calls and handle all the complexities of apache HTTP calls into easy-to-use methods.

Here are a few benefits of installing npm:

  1. npm manages local dependencies of the project’s tools
  2. It offers package-lock.json which displays all dependencies of your project
  3. It helps to manage globally installed projects’ tools
  4. npm has the ability to handle multiple versions of code and code dependencies
  5. You can use standalone tools right away
  6. Installs multiple packages and supports core functionality

3.2 Top Useful npm Modules

Let us some useful npm repository modules provided by the largest software registry to create a module by focusing on various elements such as performance, robust routing, core functionality, automate time-consuming tasks, high test coverage, and much more.

  • Express.js
  • Sails.js
  • Meteor.js
  • Hapi.js
  • Koa.js
  • Total.js
  • Nest.js
  • Loopback.js
  • Mongo.js
  • socket.js

4. What is Node JS Used For?

Node.js is a browser JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine which uses a callback function to handle HTTP requests, with a non-blocking I/O model to achieve efficiency while remaining lightweight.

Let’s find out what is node js used for?

Do you know that the bulk of the technology’s popularity falls to backend development? Frontend and the usage of full-stack tools, fall behind a bit. According to a survey conducted by Node.js Foundation, hybrid web applications are the top use case with a share of 85%.

Non-blocking I/O and asynchronous request handling provide Node.js the ability to process requests without any delays. For backend development, synchronous processing assumes that the code is executed in a sequence. When any incoming requests are processed, it can push out serving requests and Node.js makes the most of single threading in limited time and concurrent processing.

Here are some quickies for you:

  • Backend for Social Media Networking
  • Command-line applications
  • Browser games
  • Single-page Application
  • Embedded file system
  • Chat Application
  • REST APIs
  • Data Streaming apps
  • Hardware programming
  • IoT Application

5. Perks of NodeJS Framework

As we all know, js Node helps in the execution of browser JavaScript code and allows you to build scalable network applications. It operates on a single-threaded event-based loop for non-blocking executions and offers event-driven I/O previous API and asynchronous.

Let’s list down the major benefits of using Node.js as server-side programming.

5.1 Easy to Learn

According to the js foundation Survey conducted in 2016, JavaScript is one of the perfect platforms for front-end development. Fortunately, JavaScript is a widely used language with powerful features. So, it becomes easier for web developers to start using Node.js at the backend as it is easy to learn and consumes less time to grasp over it. 

Node.js has no learning curve and it is relatively simple and easy to learn with little knowledge of JavaScript and Object-Oriented programming.

According to a StackOverflow survey, more than 40% of the professional developers, which participated in the voting, elected js foundation as the most widely used technology.

As a beginner, you can also attend interactive courses, watch tutorials and examples on Github which makes your learning a really pleasant experience. Just make sure you’re aware of the client-server model, server moves, event-driven servers, and catch up with the Node’s asynchronous flow.

5.2 Rich Ecosystem

Node has a vibrant ecosystem with software known as NPM which allows you to access more than 800,000 libraries and new ones get published every week. NPM also serves as a marketplace for open-source tools and resources which plays a vital role in the advance of this technology. 

There is a wide variety of free tools accessible in a few clicks that gives a huge potential for the use of Node.js. 

5.3 Easy Scalability

Node’s scalability is achieved by load balancing which can handle a huge amount of concurrent connections. Offering scalability is one of the most common benefits for startups that are planning to expand their business over time.

It is perfectly suitable for microservices architecture that will scale and grow in the future. Moreover, Node apps support both vertical and horizontal scaling. 

Besides, Node also provides the option of adding extra resources to one node during the vertical scaling of the web application. It is highly scalable and ideal solution compared to other JavaScript scalable servers.

5.4 Faster Time-to-Market

For every business, time is priceless. Startups have to work relentlessly to iterate fast, test, deploy and deliver as quickly as possible. Node.js is particularly helpful in making the time-to-market cycle shorter.

Firstly, technology is lightweight and can massively decrease the development time in achieving the same functionality. With Node, you can get from idea to product in a snap and receive immediate feedback from the production environment.

5.5 Seamless JSON Support

Backend web application development technologies such as Ruby on Rails and PHP can use JSON format for interaction while creating RESTful APIs for NoSQL database support, like MongoDB. Seamless communication with the data transfer standards is another benefit of the JavaScript runtime built.

5.6 Robust Technology Stack

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that has proven to be an undisputed leader among the most popular programming languages. There are a total of 368,985,988 downloads and more than 700 new contributors, the project seems to be stronger than ever.

If you’re using Node.js for backend development, you automatically get all the pros of full-stack JavaScript development, such as speed, performance, overall developer productivity, code sharing, easy knowledge sharing within a team, various free tools, and better efficiency.

5.7 MVP Development

Short budgets and harsh timeframes mean that it’s worth quickly validating the product marketability with the least effort and resources. Make sure to receive a full-fledged product before paying out money on the development, you’ll get ready before you take off.

Node.js allows web developers to quickly develop an MVP with just enough features so that the product can go to the market and satisfy the customers. 

5.8 Highly Extensible

Node.js is cross-platform and highly extensible, which means you can customize and further extend Node.js as per your project requirements. It also makes use of JSON and provides the scope of exchange of data to facilitate built-in APIs for creating HTTP request, DNS, and TCP, etc. traditional servers.

5.9 Fast-Processing and Event-Based Model

Node.js is one of the fastest cross-platform scripting languages and event-based models; it is not a myth. The V8 engine for implementing Node.js was originally developed for the Chrome browser. It is written in C++ to compile functions written in JavaScript into machine code for impressive speed and performance. Thanks to Google for investing much time and effort in its engine, V8 demonstrates performance enhancements every year and extracts the whole bag of benefits out of it.

Non-blocking I/O and asynchronous request handling provide Node.js the ability to process requests without any delays. For backend development, synchronous processing assumes that the code is executed in a sequence. When a request is processed, it can push out serving requests and Node.js makes the most of single threading in limited time and concurrent processing.

5.10 Easy Scalability For Modern Applications

Node.js is a consistently growing consumer base of 10 million users, titans like Netflix, Walmart, Uber, Paypal, among others, have regarded Node.js as a perfect and reliable solution for scalability. It is a top-notch technology that comes with a variety of features like the cluster module. Node.js helps to load balancing more than a single CPU core and deliver desired outcomes through smaller modules.

It allows developers to leverage Microservices that further segregate your application into small parts and allocate the tasks efficiently among different teams for faster development and deployment. It also employs a non-blocking event loop mechanism for providing scalability and enabling the server to process requests flawlessly. 

6. Cons of NodeJS

6.1 Immaturity of Tooling

Although the code Node cluster module is stable, mature, and more appealing than the child processes module for creating scalable servers. There are various tools in the npm registry which are poor or not properly documented.

Besides, the registry’s structure might not be accurate to offer the tools based on their quality. So, sometimes it becomes hard to find the best solution for your purposes without even knowing what to look for. 

Hence, Node is an open-source web development platform and has its impact as well.

6.2 Handling Heavy Computing Tasks Reduces the Performance

It is single-threaded and event-driven I/O locking, Node falls short at executing heavy CPU-based computing and reduces the overall performance of your application. 

When a sizable CPU-driven task, creating limited threads is received by Node in its event loop, it uses all the available CPU strength to accomplish the undertaking and hinder your applications’ interface. 

To overcome such challenges, Node introduced the “worker threads” cluster module which allows the web developers to execute more than one thread simultaneous concurrent connections. Although, this solution does not allow you to deal with CPU-intensive operations and computation challenges.

6.3 A Simple CRUD Application

Node.js comprises of basic HTML or CRUD hybrid web applications. This leads to a final outcome which is slightly scalable, complex code execution, and generate low traffic floods. However, use cases like this one, where return data provided and the scalable servers don’t require a separate API, then render Node.js superfluous.

6.4 Lack of Library Support

Few NPM libraries are either poor in quality or not appropriately documented. This is why monitoring is difficult if some amateurs develop a web application in Node.js. Only experts and professionals with massive project experience can drive success to your project. Node.js is an open-source platform with such libraries and modules that might create a lack of high coding standards. So, it is essential to pick the right development partner to develop your web application.

6.5 Difficult to Maintain Code

Due to the core nature of the asynchronous approach, the technology replies a lot to callbacks. It operates each task in a queue safekeeping several queued tasks in the background that are still running. This callback impacts negatively on the apps’ performance and code quality and makes it tedious to understand and maintain the code.

7. Final Thoughts

Node plays a vital role in developing server-side scalable & high-performing web applications built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime consisting of modern features and multiple cores functionalities. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model which makes the system lightweight and efficient.

One of the biggest reasons behind the popularity of Node.js is because it uses JavaScript as its main language to build web applications. Being an open-source and easily accessible platform is like the cherry on the cake. Node.js is becoming incredibly popular for developing web applications for both web and mobile. It offers a perfect package of scale, speed, and performance which helps you to power use cases essential for web apps in 2021 and beyond. As long as your web app doesn’t require CPU-intensive tasks, it can leverage the advantages of Node.js that we shared in this article.

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Itesh Sharma

Itesh Sharma is core member of Sales Department at TatvaSoft. He has got more than 6 years of experience in handling the task related to Customer Management and Project Management. Apart from his profession he also has keen interest in sharing the insight on different methodologies of software development.

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