Node.js is a lean, fast, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment that is useful for both servers and desktop applications. It is used by major tech companies like Airbnb, LinkedIn, Walmart, Uber, and even NASA in production. And of course, smaller tech startups have built their platforms using Node.js and increasingly more enterprise companies are migrating their platforms from legacy code to the more robust and streamlined Node.

 

What is Nodejs?

Node.js is an application runtime environment for writing server-side applications in JavaScript. It's unique I/O model makes it much more flexible and best for scalable and real-time situations that are more demanding of our servers.  It’s also lightweight and efficient. The ability to use JavaScript on both frontend and backend opens new opportunities for development.

How is Node.js different?

Node.js is a server-side engine for running JavaScript, the same language your front-end web developers already know. In fact, it utilizes the same V8 JavaScript engine that's built into the Chrome browser. What makes Node.js unique is the different set of APIs. In browsers, you have a variety of DOM/Web APIs exposed that help you interact with UI, and allow you to access the hardware to a limited extent. Node.js is different in that it comes with many APIs suitable for backend development, for example the support for file systems, http requests, streams, child processes, etc. Browsers do offer some basic support for file systems or http requests, but those are usually limited due to security concerns.

 

Why investing in Node.js pays off?

Using Node.js as your server technology gives your team tools to be more effective and efficient by using the same language on both the front end and the back end. That doesn't just mean happier teams, but also lower development costs.  Also, with Javascript quickly becoming the most popular programming language, you make it easier to find and hire new engineering talent who can quickly onboard and understand your platform.

As the development community grows exponentially around Node.js there is an incredibly robust knowledge base and documentation to support innovation and implementation of new tools. The technology stack is open source and free which means this growth will continue and the platform will only gain in popularity. As it gains in popularity, it will continue to become more useful to businesses of all sizes. Node also provides a great package manager, npm. There are a massive and growing number of available open-source tools in npm’s registry.

 

Who should use Node.js?

When deciding whether to use Node.js it's best to understand which use cases are best for employing this tool. It is ideal for teams that need to process a high volume of short messages requiring low latency. Such systems are called real-time applications (RTAs), and can be easily developed with Node.js. It is a good choice for the real-time collaborative drawing/editing-type apps, where you can watch the document being modified live by someone else (such as Google Docs or Trello). It is also ideal for live-chat and instant-messaging apps, video conferencing apps, online gaming apps or e-commerce transaction software, where online data is of much importance. Node.js is very efficient with real-time applications: it facilitates handling multiple client requests, enables sharing and reusing packages of library code, and the data sync between the client and server happens very fast.

Node.js will be incredibly useful when you need something fast and scalable. It can process many requests with low response times, as well as sharing things such as validation code between the client and server, make it a great fit for modern web applications that carry out lots of processing on the client’s side. For these reasons, Node.js is a popular choice among "single-page application" sites, where all the rendering is done on the client’s side, and the backend only provides a JSON API.  When you want to process high volumes of IO-bound requests, Node is your best option. It lacks efficiency if a lot of CPU processing is required to serve the request. But, if it's just moving data around, it will be extremely efficient.

 

Of course, every platform is different. If you want to talk to an expert about whether Node.js makes sense for your business, email us at info@bigroomstudios.com. Our Node.js consultants will help you better understand your options and build the technology stack that is right for you. 

 

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