After almost 20 years of web-based on the stateless request-response paradigm, web applications with real-time, two-way connections are finally here. Node.js has become increasingly popular in the creation of apps over the past four years. The popular programming forum Stack Overflow has even acknowledged it as the best framework in the world.
Node.js is popular because it is a server-side proxy that can handle many concurrent connection requests. It’s handy for proxying many benefits with varying reaction times or obtaining data from multiple sources and locations.
Do you think about using Node.js in your project? Talk to IntelliSoft’s professionals about it. Our services for full-stack development with Node.js are among the best in the industry. Thanks to our Node.js application developers’ expertise, we can help you create bespoke software to meet your needs.
Let’s find out more about when to use Node.js and why.
Table of Contents
What Is Node.js?
To understand why to use Node.js, look at its functions.
Features of Node.js
Below are the essential features that make Node.js stand out from other server environments.
- Super Speedy
- Asynchronous, Event-Driven
All Node.js library APIs are asynchronous or non-blocking. It implies that a Node.js server never waits for an API to return data. After calling an API, the server proceeds to the following API, and a Node.js Events notification mechanism helps the server receive a response from the previous API call.
A Node.js application does not buffer any data at any time. These apps merely output the data in discrete portions.
- Single Threaded Yet Highly Scalable
Node.js employs a single-threaded event-looping paradigm. The event method enables the server to respond in a non-blocking manner and makes the server extremely scalable. Unlike typical servers like Apache HTTP Server, Node.js employs a single-threaded program that can handle a far higher volume of requests.
The best proof of Node.js security is the MIT license.
How Does Node.js Work?
Node.js core concept is to employ non-blocking, event-driven I/O to stay lightweight and efficient in the face of data-intensive, real-time applications running on multiple distributed devices.
It means that Node.js is not a revolutionary new technology that will take over the web development industry. Instead, it’s a platform that meets a certain requirement. Developers should not use Node.js for CPU-intensive tasks; utilizing it for such tasks will negate nearly all of Node.js benefits. Node.js excels in creating quick, scalable network apps because it can handle a large number of connections at once with high throughput, which results in excellent scalability.
The installed software includes two programs that work together to create powerful functionality.
- npm. This is a package management system that employs the installation of numerous network-obtained utilities. It broadens the possibilities and enables the construction of apps using a constructor.
Developer community uses the npm system to increase Node.js’s popularity. Every coder has access to the protocols’ extensive library of modules. You can download some files for free. Another source code requires payment.
Running on a system with 8 GB of RAM puts us at a theoretical maximum of 4000 concurrent connections (calculations taken from Michael Abernethy’s article “Just What is Node.js?,” published on IBM developerWorks in 2011, plus the cost of context-switching between threads. In conventional web-serving systems, this is the typical situation.
In general, developers must prevent an exception from reaching the top-level (central) Node.js event loop, causing the Node.js instance to crash (effectively crashing the program).
npm: The Node Package Manager
Those who work with software development should keep in mind the following npm modules:
- Express. Express.js is the de facto standard for most Node.js apps nowadays and a Sinatra-inspired web development framework for Node.js.
- Hapi. Hapi is a highly flexible, user-friendly, and lightweight configuration-centric framework for creating websites and service-based software.
- MongoDB and Mongols. These wrappers for the MongoDB database provide an application programming interface (API) for MongoDB object databases in Node.js.
- Forever. This is the most common way to run a Node script repeatedly. It keeps your Node.js process running in production even if something goes wrong.
- Socket.io and sockjs. These are two of the most common websockets components used on the server side.
- connect. Connect is an extensible HTTP server framework for Node.js that provides a set of high-performance plugins referred to as middleware; it serves as the foundation for Express.
- pug. One of the most widely used templating engines, pug (previously Jade), was modeled after HAML. Developers use it by default in Express.js.
- bluebird. It implements Promises/A+ with all available features that boast outstanding performance.
Who Uses Node.js? Examples of Node.js Use Cases
This development environment allows you to write software for multiple platforms, including the web, OS X, and Windows. It provides developers with new methods for maintaining synchronization between your mobile device and computer, such that text inputted on your mobile device will be reflected on your web browser and desktop/laptop computer. Also, developers can build API with the help of libraries.
Still, some of the popular users of Node.js are involved in different fields. Here are the industry giants who benefit from this technology the most.
Walmart. The largest retail chain in the world has begun selling things over the internet. To accomplish this task, the company developed an asynchronous input/output program, which helped supermarkets save significant resources.
eBay. The 170 million users appreciate the clear, elegant, and well-organized eBay app. The creators sought to create a web platform that was as responsive as possible – interactive and able to interact with visitors in real-time. Not only did they accomplish this goal, but they also set up interaction services, the information from which is updated nonstop on the website’s pages.
Mozilla. Browser developers believe Node has substantially simplified things, pointing to at least two reasons. The first one is that both the front and back end are written in the same language. The second one is the quantity of RAM required for the system to function.
Shutterstock. A site replete with interactions between merchants and purchasers. It permits the presentation of your artwork, music, vector images, and movies. Conversely, a finished object can be purchased for a few cents with standard access and tens/hundreds of dollars with extended access.
Paypal. A system from Elon Musk, Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Yu Pan, Ken Howery, and Luke Nosek allows users to work with payments without sharing financial information. As of 2018, there were 227 million active accounts on the website. It took half as long to create the app.
Reasons Developers Choose Node.js
There are several benefits to using Node.js, but the non-blocking I/O approach is the most important. The events in this system trigger asynchronous, priority-based processing. There is no need to generate a new thread for each connection, making it easier to manage the load even when thousands of users are accessing the server simultaneously.
With thousands of programmers working on it, Node.js technology is rapidly progressing. The Node Foundation is responsible for overseeing this procedure. Companies like Google, eBay/PayPal, Netflix, Microsoft, Uber, Linkedin, Yahoo, Walmart, and others have adopted Node.js due to its widespread use and numerous benefits. The importance of a strong community cannot be overstated, as it provides access to support in times of need, a wealth of learning resources, rapid identification of system flaws, a forum for open dialogue, and the possibility of forming new teams.
Easy to Learn & Quick to Adapt
First of all, Node.js is easy to learn, especially if you have experience with JS. If you know the syntax, all you’ll need to learn are the APIs it uses. Moreover, Node.js is an open-source framework supported and improved by a large community of developers. Which means, you can get support from experienced developers worldwide to solve any problem you might have while learning or using it.
High Node.js Performance for Real-Time Apps
Node.js is ideal for building applications for interactive commercial websites, streaming services, social networking, messengers, collaboration tools, etc. These applications have one thing in common – they can transmit live text, audio, or video data in groups or face-to-face interactions.
Easy Scalability for Modern Applications
Another benefit of using Node.js is that it makes it simple for developers to scale their applications horizontally and vertically by adding more nodes. It is possible to run multiple nodes simultaneously, and the environment will automatically distribute the burden evenly among them.
Optimal Solution for Microservices Architecture
The so-called microservices architecture has found its perfect match in Node.js, a simple and lightweight programming environment. With this method, a single program is built up from a collection of independent services that communicate with one another using simple protocols and APIs, most frequently those for managing HTTP resources.
According to the Node.js User Survey Report 2017, Node.js is the preferred technology when creating solutions based on microservices. About half of the respondents use technologies related to microservices (to be more precise, we are talking about Docker – the leading platform for software containerization).
As an example of implementation, consider Walmart’s move to a microservice architecture based on Node.js. This solution allowed the company to gain a lot of benefits:
GoDaddy is another case in which Node.js shows its superiority over its rivals. Super Bowl advertising allowed the company to process 10,000 requests per second without experiencing downtime, despite only using 10% of the hardware’s total capacity.
Excellent for Building IoT Solutions
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ecosystem of various automated computer devices and digital machines that can exchange data with each other without human intervention. Experts use the technology in various applications and industries. Some examples of the Internet of Things include:
- Agricultural automation
- Smart homes and cities
- Retail analytics and logistics
- Health care for self-monitoring
- Connected (smart) cars
Creating an ecosystem of connected devices using Node.js is a smart choice.
Powerful Community Support to Simplify Development
Large tech firms like Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Amazon substantially invested in the Node.js ecosystem. They contributed significantly by sharing their knowledge of serverless, creating microservices architecture, and disseminating various open-source, ready-to-use solutions. The fact this technology is backed by industry heavyweights and the largest developer community ensures it will be employed soon and continue to advance, become more effective, and expand its range of applications.
Complete JSON Compatibility
Valuable Help with Building Cross-Functional Solutions
Node.js is also an excellent option for developing cross-platform, real-time online apps, drastically reducing development costs and time. There is no need to design the Node.js application independently for Windows, Linux, and macOS or to recruit distinct developers for each platform. In addition, Node.js developers familiar with Angular, React.js, or Vue can also design both front-end and back-end application interfaces.
Node.js has tremendous potential due to the availability of many free tools with a few clicks. Open-source software is gaining popularity because it enables the creation of new solutions, which reduces overall development costs and time to market (TTM).
Improved App Response Time & Boosted Performance
Node.js is fast. The results of performance tests presented by toptal.com demonstrate this. The researchers compared how popular programming languages handle concurrent requests, including GO, PHP, Java, and Node.js. As a result of its V8 engine, the latter achieves the best results in nearly all metrics. It was initially created for the Chrome web browser. Chrome V8, written in C++, is utilized to compile JS functions into machine code at an impressive rate. V8’s performance has improved over the years due to Google’s substantial investment in its engine, and Node.js has made the most of it.
A further significant benefit is the asynchronous handling of requests. Synchronous processing on the server side indicates that the code is executed sequentially. Consequently, each new request blocks the flow of the others, and subsequent commands will not begin to perform until the previous command has been completed. In turn, the Node.js asynchronous method maximizes the use of single-threaded processing, which reduces response time by a factor of several.
By using a single language on both the client and back-end, synchronization is as fast as possible, and beneficial for real-time, event-driven applications. Because of its asynchronous, single-threaded nature, Node.js is ideal for online games, chat, video conferencing, or any other project that requires constant data updates.
Many leading companies have seen significant improvements since migrating to Node.js – PayPal, for example, reported a 35% reduction in response time after migrating from Java.
Shorter Time-to-Market (TTM)
Quicker Loading Time
The caching module in Node.js makes it simple for programmers to lessen the time and effort spent on tasks and code re-execution. Your web app’s initial module will be cached in memory at the occurrence of each request. The time it takes for your users to access the web pages will be reduced to a few microseconds.
Good for Building Cross-Platform Applications
With Node.js, you can construct cross-platform, real-time online apps utilizing Electron and NW.js, meaning you no longer need to spend time building separate code for Windows, Linux, and macOS desktop versions.
Your development team may create native desktop applications in the future without requiring expert-level knowledge of Objective-C, C#, or any other language. In addition, your Node.js engineers have unrestricted access to additional Google Chrome Developer Tools for building, debugging, and writing code.
Would you like how much our help with a dedicated team of Node.jsNode js developers may cost you? IntelliSoft’s experts are available to answer any remaining questions and help you determine how much your project would be best served by Node.js development as opposed to another technology. Our staff is willing to answer any questions and provide additional details.
Node.js has fewer drawbacks than advantages, but they are still essential to consider to understand whether the framework suits your project.
Ineffective Management of Excessive CPU Use
Because Node.js first stringifies objects to JSON and then sends them to the client, enormous payloads from Node.js services can also be a problem. This is because Node.js transmits objects to the client after stringifying them. These processes can potentially increase CPU usage, so it’s important to keep the payload size manageable, provide pagination, and avoid populating useless data in advance.
Immature Tooling & Dependency Management
Although the core Node.js modules are relatively stable and mature, several tools in the npm registry are either of low quality or poorly documented/tested. In addition, the registry itself is not sufficiently organized to provide tools depending on their ranking or quality.
No Strong Library Support System
Using Node.js for straightforward programming jobs like image processing, database operations, XML analysis, and other similar activities is challenging due to the absence of a well-equipped and robust library system.
Asynchronous Programming Model
Because of its asynchronous nature, Node.js relies heavily on callbacks – functions that run after each task in the queue has been completed. Keeping a number of functions in the queue can significantly complicate the program, making it difficult to understand the code.
Quality Issues: Inconsistent API
Most Node.js developers view frequent API modifications as one of the most significant problems.
The currently available version 18.2.0 of the Node.js API has undergone numerous modifications, not all of which are backward compatible. Every time a new version of the Node.js API is released, developers must modify the available codebase to ensure compatibility.
Poor Key Typing
Tasks to Use Node.js
The chat program has modest processing and computing needs despite its extensive data and traffic loads. It’s the perfect use case for Node.js because it works on a wide variety of devices simultaneously. Real-time chats are used on practically every website these days. Indeed, they have reached such widespread prevalence that they are essentially required, especially for commercial websites and digital products,
The good news is that Node.js already has built-in support for the core functionalities required to create a chatting application with a real-time component. Real-time chatting services like Skype and Facebook Messenger rely on the Node.js Event API to create server-side events and push notifications.
Why not use Node.js for streaming data? In conventional web platforms, developers treat HTTP requests and answers as discrete events, despite being streams. Programmers can use this observation to create some cool Node.js features.
For instance, we can process files while they are uploaded. During the upload process, we can process data in parallel as it arrives via a stream – valid for real-time audio or video encoding and proxying between several data sources.
Consider a server-side application that interacts with third-party resources, pulls data from several sources, or stores assets (such as photographs and videos) to third-party cloud services.
Using Node instead of a dedicated proxy server could be advantageous if your proxying infrastructure does not exist or you require a local development solution. In other words, you might construct a client-side Node.js application using a Node development server for assets and proxying/stubbing API queries. Developers can handle similar interactions by a specialized proxy service (like nginx or HAProxy).
API on Top of an Object DB
Node.js suits for accessing object database information (e.g., MongoDB). When dealing with JSON-stored data, node.js can work without impedance mismatch or data conversion.
If you’re working with Rails, you’ll want to convert JSON to binary models, then expose them as JSON over the HTTP for use by frameworks like Backbone.js, Angular.js, etc., or even simple jQuery AJAX requests.
The client can access the exposed data via a RESTful API, which Node.js makes possible using JSON objects.
Application Monitoring Dashboard
If you have real-time access to visitor activity, consider how your business may expand. Tracking website visitors and seeing their interactions in real-time is made possible by nodes with WebSockets.
Gathering user data in real-time or initiating targeted interactions with your visitors by opening a communication channel at a particular stage of your sales funnel are two reasons to utilize Node.js for a monitoring dashboard.
Your database can become a bottleneck if it’s receiving a massive amount of concurrent data. Node.js can manage simultaneous connections with ease. Because database access is a blocking procedure in this instance, you may face difficulties. The approach recognizes the client’s action before adding the data to the database.
This strategy helps the system to maintain responsiveness under severe load conditions. It is especially beneficial when logging or writing user-tracking data processed in batches for later use or for activities that do not need to be reflected immediately, such as refreshing a Facebook likes count.
Brokerage/Stock Trader’s Dashboard
At the application level, trading software for brokers is another example of solutions mainly used on desktops but could easily be replaced by a real-time web solution. The trading software brokers use keeps track of stock prices, does the math and technical analysis, and makes graphs and charts.
Why not use Node.js to make a web-based solution for brokers that works in real-time? Then it would be easy for brokers to switch workstations or workplaces.
System Monitoring Dashboard
Consider a SaaS company that wants to give users a service monitoring page similar to GitHub’s status page. Using Node.js’s event loop, one can develop a robust web-based dashboard that checks the status of services asynchronously and pushes data to clients through WebSocket.
Tasks Not to Use Node.js
Despite its advantages, Node.js is not the best choice for some projects. For instance, using Node.js for simple app development makes little sense.
Server-Side Web App with a Relational Database
Node.js has numerous advantages, but its back-end relational database capabilities are not one of them. Its database utilities are less robust than those of Ruby on Rails or other frameworks. Other applications can provide far superior tools, such as data mappers, active record data-access layer implementations, and out-of-the-box data access configurations.
Heavy Server-Side Computation/Processing
It generally employs a single CPU and an event-based, non-blocking I/O mechanism. Therefore, incoming requests will be blocked if you are building an intensive CPU processing activity. The application will eventually get slowed by its number-crunching threads. In addition, Node.js will lose its speed and efficacy, perhaps its most significant advantages.
Node.js Usage for the Enterprise or Start-up
Even large businesses require scalability, speed, and usability. Therefore, it’s not a mystery why the Node.js foundation was established. Its designer, Joyant, intended to facilitate universal adoption and accelerate Node development across all industries.
IBM, Microsoft, PayPal, Fidelity, and SAP, founding members of the association, are among the major companies that use this runtime environment JS. Nearly 300 well-known firms, including Medium, Trello, Uber, and Zendesk, are now members of the foundation. As long as businesses avoid use cases that do not align with Node’s strengths, there should be no limit to what they may achieve with it.
Node.js speed and simple ability to switch nodes make it great for developers who must test new concepts and services. It is comparable to having purchased a modular home that permits you to add pieces as needed. What could be a more significant Node.js advantage for a start-up than the ability to scale up as needed?
How Can IntelliSoft Help You Create the Best Project Using Node.js?
Node.js is an increasingly popular server-side development environment that simplifies universal application development for large companies, SMBs, and start-ups. However, the problem with Node.js is the lack of qualified, experienced developers. The demand for Node.js development is constantly growing, and the number of developers is lagging, which makes companies compete for highly skilled Node.js developers.
IntelliSoft has a team of Node.js developers that you can hire right now. We guarantee a fast team build-up and start-up time, along with a transparent workflow and immediate knowledge transfer. Specifically, we provide:
- Services for developing a server module in Node.js. We will use cutting-edge tools to implement any of your suggestions and ideas.
- Full-stack Node application development in any third-party environment (Angular, React, Vue.js, etc.).
- Business analysis, design, coding, and quality assurance (QA) for your web apps.
- Node.js as an alternative to Ruby, Java, PHP, Python, and server-side languages. We offer migration assistance if you already have a product.
- Fixing bugs and keeping everything running well.