Is Node js Beneficial for Beginners?

Are you planning to start off with the emerging disruptive Digital technologies?  Well, then we are pretty sure you must be overwhelmed with a plethora of options available across the globe. Those who seek value from technology-based options must move faster as their digital business efforts move into high gear. Till now you must have heard about Node.js. You should as it is one of the most trending topics in the web development industry. We have come across several posts on the benefits of learning Node.js or why you should choose it from the business perspective or node.js best practices to consider but the following post simply focuses on node js for beginners.

1. Introducing Node.js

 Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment, Node.js was released in 2009 by Ryan Dahl. And in this decade, the javascript framework has rooted itself deep in the world of web application development. Prior to Node, Javascript was dominating this market and was flourishing well. Now the main concern here is what triggered the need for Node.js? 

We all know how Javascript is used for client-side scripting, but it failed miserably when it comes to developing server-based applications (meaning that it can’t do synchronous tasks or run JavaScript code in a single thread). And this is where Node.js comes to the rescue. It comprises innovative features that help in programming in JavaScript on the server.

Before we begin with the Node.js tutorial, let us have a basic understanding of some of the major milestones of the web development framework.

In the year 2009, Node.js is an open framework released in the market and the first version of the npm node package manager was created.

In 2012, After Express and Socket introduction, several companies like LinkedIn, Uber started implementing and showed the will to learn Node.js. As a result, a widespread effort to learn Javascript and a huge active community were formed.

In the year 2015, The Node.js Foundation was formed, io.js which was merged back into Node.js and simultaneously Node.js 4.0.0 was released. Here npm or node package manager was introduced with a few private modules.

In 2018, Node.js 10 came into existence featuring a bunch of built-in modules along with a ES modules.mjs experimental support.

2. Time to Learn Node.js

Let’s take a situation in mind, you know one of the common tasks for a web server is to open a file on the server and return the content to the client.

Now how PHP or ASP handles a file request:

  • Sends the task to the computer’s file system
  • Waits while the file system opens and reads the file.
  • Returns the content to the client.
  • Ready to handle the next request.

Now let me show you how Node.s handles a file request:

  • Sends the task to the computer’s file system.
  • Ready to handle the next request.
  • When the file system has opened and read the file, the server returns the content to the client.

2.1 Let Us See What Node.js Can Do?

  • Node.js can generate the dynamic page content
  • The server script javascript framework can create, open, read, write, delete, and close files on the server
  • Node.js can collect form data
  • Node.js can add, delete, modify data in your database

2.2 Features of Node

There are numerous programming languages around which can be used to build back-end services so what makes Node.js different I am going to explain.

  • It’s easy to get started with developing web applications and can be used for prototyping and agile development.
  • It provides fast and highly scalable services
  • It uses JavaScript everywhere, so it’s easy for a JavaScript programmer to build back-end services using Node.js
  • Source code cleaner and consistent.
  • Large ecosystem for open source libraries.
  • It has Asynchronous or Non-blocking nature

3. Advantages of Node js Featuring Javascript Code

Many of you have this misconception that Node is a framework while others differ by saying it’s a library. Well, I say it’s a runtime environment based on Google Chrome’s V8  JavaScript engine (V8 JavaScript engine-one of the fastest JavaScript engines in the market) which parses and executes the JavaScript code. Node JS has a standard library that contains JavaScript packages. We often use Node.js for building back-end services like APIs like Web App or Mobile App or for building apps in general. Node JS allows more leeway in building apps compared to other frameworks. Today,  this web development framework is used by multiple people in leading companies such as Uber, Paypal, eBay, Walmart, and Netflix, to name a few.

Speaking further about Node advantages we can go on and on for ages. We don’t have that much time, you want to develop your project after all. Now we will show you how it’s a true blessing for both business and software development.

Some of the Significant Advantages are

1. Open-source NPM repository – Over 60 thousand available modules you can easily find a ready to use solution for your problem, instead of reinventing the wheel.

2. Scalable Systems – Node is pretty easy to scale the application horizontally by deploying many instances of your project to the different servers. You can also scale your system vertically, by using a cluster built-in module that will fork the application process to all the CPU cores you have.

3. Microservices – Of course, it’s worth mentioning that a lot of companies migrate to Node.js when they want to move to microservices. Just sayin’.

4. Single Programming Language – Nowadays, amongst frontend programming languages the most popular choice is JavaScript. Because you can also use it on the back, it improves the app’s maintainability. You no longer have to hire two people for separate backend and frontend positions. It’s a huge advantage to save your time and money.

5. Non – Blocking I/O Paradigm – Another major problem in I/O operations is waiting for a response. You see node technology is single-threaded so while you are waiting for a database query it will block all the server-side web applications. As a result, it is advisable for server-side javascript developers to use a non-blocking, rest API. After calling it, the thread can continue working on another task. When the I/O operation will be completed, you will be notified about it by a callback. The main advantage and result of this approach is improved efficiency by handling a lot of simultaneous connections.

Above all, Node reduces the time to market. You see businesses often have a great idea for a web application but needs to verify it on a market. With Node.js you can deliver an MVP very fast which reduces the amount of money and effort needed to achieve it.

4. Why Choose Node js For Beginners?

Now since we have covered what Node is and how the js extension is beneficial. It’s time to learn all the aspects of node js for beginners in detail (This section is to help developers to understand the node better). Here we have listed a few topics which can be referred to any time whether it’s to learn Node.js or for mastering.   

4.1 Node.js Architecture

Node.js uses Single Threaded Event Loop Model Architecture which means all the client requests on Node.js are executed by a single thread. Unlike other programming languages like HTML, CSS, AJAX, Node is not just single-threaded, but event-driven architecture as well which eventually helps Node.js in handling multiple clients concurrently.

All the features offered by Node Architecture

  • Requests – Incoming requests can be categorized into both blocking and non-blocking, depending upon the tasks that a user wants to perform in a web application.
  • Node web server –  It’s a server-side platform that takes requests from users, processes those requests, and returns responses to the corresponding users.
  • Event Loop – Apart from intimidating javascript code, the event loop in Node stores incoming client requests and passes those requests one-by-one into the Loop.
  • External resources – External resources deal with blocking client requests. These resources can be for computation, data storage, etc.

Overall, before you learn Node.js as a beginner it is important to know that the programming language can handle multiple concurrent client requests in a quick and easy manner, without the need of creating multiple threads. Another key Function of Node is the ability to handle concurrent connections with minimum overhead on a single process compared to creating a separate thread for each connection.

4.2 Installing Node.js

Next step in the path of learning node js is installation. And trust me this is one of the simplest procedures you will come across. All you have to do is visit the Node.js Official Site and download the stable version of Node.js. But before you install just to ensure that you have sufficient space and your RAM is at least 4GB.

4.3 JSON File

Popularly stands for Javascript Object Notation. JSON is a text format for storing and transporting data. More or less JSON is self-describing and way easy to understand. Try to create any Node.js application, I am sure you need to get this thing right or you may end up losing your first project. The lightweight data-interchange format is language independent and helps to send data between computers.

Now you must be wondering why to use JSON. Well, one of the obvious reasons is the JSON format is syntactically similar to the code for creating JavaScript objects. Because of this, a JavaScript program can easily convert JSON data into JavaScript objects. And since the format is text only, JSON data can easily be sent between computers and used by any programming language.

JavaScript has a built-in function for converting JSON strings into JavaScript objects:

JSON.parse()

JavaScript also has a built-in function for converting an object into a JSON string:

JSON.stringify()

So node.js application developers can not just receive a pure text from a server and use it as a JavaScript object but also send a JavaScript object to a server in pure text format. Also, it is easy for developers to work with data as JavaScript objects, with no complicated parsing and translations.

In other words, the package.json file of your project is used for managing the dependencies used in the project along with the scripts that are required for generating builds, running tests, etc.

4.4  NPM (Node Package Manager)

When we installed Node, we got a command-line interface tool NPM (Node Package Manager). The tool here installs, updates or uninstalls Node.js packages in your application. It may quite interest you to know that this one acts as an online repository for open-source Node.js packages. The node community around the world creates useful modules and publishes them as packages in this repository.

It may also interest you to know that It has now become a popular package manager for other open-source JavaScript frameworks like AngularJS, jQuery, Gulp, Bower etc which are mainly used to create other web applications.

NPM performs the operation in two modes: global and local. In the global mode, NPM performs operations that affect all the Node.js applications on the computer whereas, in the local mode, NPM performs operations for the particular local directory which affects an application in that directory only.

4.5 Web Server Basics

In order to execute a simple ‘Hello World’ in Node.js, you need to have a basic understanding of stuff like variables, data types, operators, functions, etc in JavaScript since Node.js is a JavaScript Framework.

Many premium companies like eBay, General Electric, GoDaddy, Microsoft, PayPal, Uber, Wikipins, Yahoo!, and Yammer uses Node js.

4.6 File System

The node comprises an fs module, mainly used to access a physical file system. The fs module is responsible for all the asynchronous or synchronous file I/O operations. And since you have accomplished the fundamentals of Node, you are all set to create and execute all the basic programs and code.

After this, your next step is to read and write data into a file rather than on a console. In order to access a physical file system, Node.js makes use of the fs module. 

4.7 Events

Since we all know that Node.js applications are event-driven.  The name event implies its meaning as something that “happens” or “occurs”. And speaking for Node technology, the event is quite similar to the callback function here. The only difference is that the callback function executes once the asynchronous function returns its results, whereas events are triggered on its corresponding event handler.

Node provides an event module for creating and executing custom events. Since the Node.js application is based on a single-threaded and event-driven architecture, it supports concurrency.

4.8 HTTP Modules

It may be quite interesting if you know that Node has a built-in module known as HTTP, this one allows Node.js to transfer data over the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).  It helps to develop and execute server-based applications. Using the HTTP module, you can easily build REST APIs with Node.js.

4.9 Frameworks

Express.js,  AdonisJs, Meteor.js, NestJs, Sails are some of the best and most used frameworks of Node technology. Gone are the days when developers found writing code for each function right from the scratch. And since all this was pretty time-consuming, Node came up with numerous such frameworks which helped developers and programmers to conduct faster application development with better features.

For example, Express is a framework that allows you to build normal websites very easily. Along with the Node command, you also have access to a command called “npm”.  This tool has access to an enormous collection of modules created by the Node community.

4.10 Databases

MySQL, MongoDB, Cassandra,  Oracle, CouchDB are some of the most renowned databases that will certainly assist you in developing a fully functional web application with Node.js.

5.Conclusion

So that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed reading this post on advantages of node js for beginners. So, what are you waiting for? Start learning Node today and position your future self in a better position. In case if you have any doubt or queries, feel free to mention that in the comment section below.

profile-image
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.

Comments

  • Leave a message...