The Benefits and Drawbacks of Developing Web Apps with Node.js

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JavaScript is the most widely used programming language and one of the most widely used software development tools. Originally developed as a web frontend development tool, it has evolved into a prominent cross-platform mobile development tool that serves as a foundation for a variety of platforms, including Apache Cordova/PhoneGap, React Native, NativeScript, and Appcelerator Titanium.

 

However, JavaScript’s applications do not stop there. The usage of JavaScript for server-side programming has recently gotten a lot of attention. Node.js was one of the tools that signalled this revolution in web development. Hire node.js expert

 

What is Node.js?

Node.js is a runtime environment based on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, rather than a framework or library.

 

Ryan Dahl originally demonstrated the technique at the annual European JSConf in 2009, and it was quickly dubbed “the most fascinating single piece of software in the present JavaScript world.”

 

Joyent, a cloud computing and hosting solutions provider, supported Node.js as an open-source initiative. The company also invested in a variety of other technologies, including the Ruby on Rails platform, and hosted Twitter and LinkedIn. The latter was also one of the first organisations to adopt Node.js as the backend for its mobile app. Uber, eBay, Walmart, and Netflix, to name a few, were among the first to implement the technology.

 

However, it wasn’t until recently that server-side JavaScript with Node.js became widely adopted. According to Google Trends, interest in this technology peaked in 2017 and is still high.

 

Node.js downloads 

Long-Term Support and the most recent versions of Node.js for Windows and MacOS are available here. Also, keep in mind that npm comes pre-installed with Node.js.

 

Documentation 

The documents and how-to manuals can be found at this URL.

 

Node.js IDEs

Almost any popular code editor offers JavaScript and Node.js support and plugins, so how you configure your IDE to your coding needs is all that matters. Special tools from VS Code, Brackets, Atom, and WebStorm, on the other hand, are lauded by many developers.

 

Frameworks

The use of middleware instead of pure Node.js is a popular practise that makes the life of developers easier. Express.js, Meteor, Sales.js, Koa.js, Keystone.js, and Loopback.js are all featured in a separate post comparing major Node.js frameworks.

 

See the dedicated article for more JavaScript ecosystem tools for Node.js.

 

The strengths and limitations of Node.js have sparked passionate debate. To clear the air, we examined both the benefits and drawbacks of Node.js in order to determine which applications would profit from this technology. So, why should you use Node.js?

 

The Benefits of Node.js

⊕ Robust technology stack

Among the most popular programming languages, JavaScript has proven to be undisputedly the most popular. As a result, Node.js has established itself as a brand name in the business. According to the Node-by-numbers report 2018, the project is stronger than ever, with 368,985,988 downloads and over 750 new contributors.

 

When you use Node.js for your backend, you receive all of the benefits of full stack JavaScript development, including:

 

improved developer efficiency and overall productivity

speed and performance of code sharing and reuse

a large range of free tools for easy knowledge exchange within a team

As a result, your team is much more adaptable, development takes less time, and you end up with fast and dependable software. Front-end developers are those who have received training in front-end development. With minimal effort, JavaScript can begin programming the server side. You may reuse code on the frontend and backend by wrapping it in modules and create new levels of abstraction with the same language on both sides.

 

Despite popular assumption, being a full stack developer does not limit you to the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, and Node.js). In this situation, Node.js is the only requirement (there is no alternative in JavaScript for backend programming). The remaining technologies in this stack are optional and could be substituted with other tools that provide comparable functions (read about the alternatives in our separate article).

 

⊕ Fast-processing and event-based model

It is not a myth that Node.js is quick. Check out toptal.com’s performance tests to see how GO, PHP, Java, and Node.js handle concurrent queries. There are a few reasons why Node.js produces similar results:

 

Engine with a V8. The engine utilised in the Node.js implementation was designed specifically for the Chrome browser. Chrome’s V8, which is developed in C++, is used to compile JavaScript functions into machine code, and it does it quickly. Check out V8’s blog for performance benchmarks. V8 shows performance improvements every year as a result of Google’s heavy investment in its engine, and Node.js reaps the full benefits.

 

Because of its non-blocking input/output and asynchronous request handling, Node.js can handle requests quickly. Synchronous processing assumes that code is performed in a sequential order on the backend. As a result, each request creates a thread block, forcing other requests to wait for it to complete. Asynchronous processing allows requests to be handled without the thread being blocked (non-blocking I/O). As a result, it can send a callback when a request is processed and continue delivering requests. This allows Node.js to take advantage of single threading, resulting in fast response times and parallel processing.

 

The event-based model is another consideration. Synchronization is quick when both the client and server use the same language, which is especially useful for event-based, real-time systems. Node.js is a popular choice for online games, chats, video conferences, and any solution that requires continually updated data due to its asynchronous, non-blocking, single-threaded nature.

 

Many big firms have switched technologies to construct Node.js applications and have seen considerable benefits – PayPal, for example, has seen a 35% reduction in response time since converting from Java.

 

⊕ Scalable technology for microservices

Node.js is an excellent choice for microservices architecture because it is a lightweight technology tool. “An strategy to designing a single application as a suite of tiny services, each executing in its own process and communicating through lightweight mechanisms, commonly an HTTP resource API,” as Martin Fowler and James Lewis put it.

 

As a result, instead of developing a single, massive monolithic core, you can provide improved flexibility and lay the framework for future growth by dividing the application functionality into smaller modules, microservices. As a result, adding more microservices on top of existing ones is more easier than integrating new capabilities into the fundamental app logic.

 

According to the Node.js User Survey Report 2017, Node.js is the technology of choice for building and delivering microservices ecosystem solutions. To construct Node.js web apps, about half of the respondents use microservice-related technologies (specifically, Docker, the dominant software containerization platform):

 

Microservice-related technologies like as Docker and Kubernetes, according to more recent studies, saw an increase in utilisation in 2018, as this architectural style continues to gain popularity. This architecture enables for higher application efficiency and speed because each microservice communicates directly with the database via streams. Two widely used frameworks for microservice architecture support a match made in heaven. IBM and Uber are among the Express framework’s customers, while npm and Netflix utilise restify.

 

Walmart’s migration to microservices architecture with Node.js, as an example of live implementation, resulted in the following immediate benefits:

 

Overnight, there was a 20% increase in overall conversions and a 98% increase in mobile conversions.

On Black Friday, we guarantee 100% uptime (handling over 500 million page views)

Savings of up to 40% on hardware and 20% to 50% on overall operations are possible.

The storey of GoDaddy is another shining illustration of how Node.js may exceed the competitors in terms of performance. Thanks to Node.js, the company was able to manage 10.000 requests per second without interruption during the Super Bowl ad campaign while only using 10% of the hardware.

 

⊕ Rich ecosystem

In a nutshell, npm is a default Node.js package manager that also serves as a marketplace for open source JavaScript utilities, which is critical to the technology’s advancement. The Node.js ecosystem is quite rich, with over 836,000 libraries now available in the npm registry and over 10,000 new ones being uploaded every week. According to the same statistics, npm modules make up 97 percent of modern web applications. And this is proof of its undeniable appeal among programmers.

 

With such a large number of free tools available in just a few clicks, Node.js has a lot of promise. Simultaneously, open source software is gaining in popularity since it allows you to create new solutions while reducing total development costs and time to market.

 

⊕ Strong corporate support

Joyent, as previously stated, aided in the development of Node.js. The Node.js Foundation was founded in 2015 to “allow widespread adoption and help speed Node.js development.” IBM, Microsoft, PayPal, Fidelity, and SAP were among the organization’s original members.

 

The number of companies utilising Node.js in production is steadily increasing. PayPal, Medium, Trello, Uber, and Zendesk are among the nearly 300 well-known companies on the list.

 

Few open source projects have ever had such significant backing from the world’s most powerful corporations. And this indicates that Node.js has a lot of promise.

 

⊕ Seamless JSON support

Other backend technologies, such as PHP and Ruby on Rails, can communicate in JSON format, however Node.js does so without translating between binary models and instead uses JavaScript. This is particularly useful when creating RESTful APIs for NoSQL database support, such as MongoDB (the M in the MEAN stack). Another benefit of the JavaScript environment is its seamless connectivity with one of the most common data transfer standards.

 

The Drawbacks of Node.js

Θ Performance bottlenecks with heavy computation tasks

Even now, Node.js’ major flaw is its inability to handle CPU-intensive activities. But, in order to grasp the scope of the problem, some background information is required. Let’s start with the fundamentals of JavaScript.

 

Node.js, as we all know, is a server-side runtime environment that executes JavaScript. JavaScript employs a single thread to process work rapidly because it is a frontend programming language. Because JavaScript jobs are lightweight and utilise little CPU, threading is not required for it to work.

 

Returning to Node.js, we now understand why it is single threaded: It works with JavaScript, which is a single-threaded language. A non-blocking input/output model means that Node.js responds to the client’s request and processes the task while it waits for the callback to arrive. Node processes tasks asynchronously, executing JS code on a per-event basis on its single thread. This is referred to as an event-loop.

 

When Node.js receives a CPU constrained task, the problem occurs: whenever a big request arrives in the event loop, Node.js will use all of the CPU available to handle it first, before responding to other requests queued. As a result, Node.js is not recommended for heavy computing due to poor processing and overall delay in the event loop.

 

However, with the 10.5.0 version in 2018, multithreading was added to Node.js as an experimental feature. The worker threads module is a new feature that may be used to utilise additional threads from a thread pool to carry CPU-bound activities. However, this is only possible on machines with several cores, as Node.js only allows you to use one core per thread. As a result, massive parallel processes can be run on a separate thread. In Node.js version 12, this feature is still experimental, although it has been greatly enhanced.

 

Θ Callback hell issue

Because of its asynchronous nature, Node.js mainly relies on callbacks, which are routines that run whenever each task in the queue has completed. Keeping a multitude of queued activities running in the background, each with its own callback, can lead to callback hell, which has a direct influence on code quality. Simply described, it’s “a situation in which callbacks are nested within other callbacks several levels deep, possibly complicating the code’s understanding and maintenance.”

 

However, this is sometimes interpreted as an indication of poor coding standards and a lack of knowledge with JavaScript and, in particular, Node.js. As illustrated at callbackhell.com, the code given above may be refactored and reduced in only a few steps.

 

Θ Immaturity of tooling

Despite the fact that the core Node.js modules are relatively stable and mature, there are numerous tools in the npm registry that are either of poor quality or have not been well documented/tested. Furthermore, the registry isn’t well-structured enough to allow users to search for tools depending on their rating or quality. As a result, if you don’t know what to search for, finding the ideal solution for your needs could be challenging.

 

The majority of the Node.js ecosystem is open source, which has an impact. While Joyent and other significant contributors oversee the quality of the core Node.js technology, the rest of the tools may fall short of the quality and high coding standards imposed by multinational corporations.

 

Θ Growing demand for experienced professionals

Contrary to popular perception, not all JavaScript developers are also Node.js developers. To master server-side JavaScript programming, you’ll need to put in a lot of time and have some experience with backend development. The number of Node.js engineers is much smaller than the total number of JS professionals due to the steep learning curve.

 

As the buzz about Node.js grows, so does the demand for experienced people in the sector.

 

As a result, with millions of JavaScript developers available, finding a skilled Node.js developer for your project may be difficult. You don’t want to limit your search to just one country in this scenario. In the IT business, sourcing technical talent from other countries has long been the standard.

 

How to Learn Node.js

This is your starting point for learning and working with Node.js.

 

Turorials

Don’t limit yourself to official documentation: W3Schools has a tonne of free classes, Nodeschool has worldwide workshops, and freeCodeCamp has a collection of free tutorials.

 

Classes

Start an online course on Node if you’re a dedicated student. js: Here’s one on PluralSight, and one on Udemy, of course.

 

Interactive learning

Learn Node.js with interactive lessons and activities with these free and paid resources. The Art of Node is one of the most popular.

 

Community

The official list of community-run Node.js projects can be found here. Research Facebook groups and communities in your area/first language as a quick recommendation. And, of course, there’s Reddit’s Node.js groups, StackOverflow’s tag, and Quora’s topic.

 

Node.js vs Ruby on Rails vs Django vs Symfony

There aren’t many technologies that can match Node.js in terms of popularity or commercial need. However, there are at least three more blazing lights in the sky when it comes to server-side programming solutions. Ruby on Rails, Django, and Symfony are the three frameworks. Let’s see if they can stand up to Node.js’ advantages and share its disadvantages.

 

Ruby on Rails is notable for its straightforward but opinionated language and gems, Rails’ own ecosystem of custom packages. RubyGems is a helpful and devoted community that contributes code to RubyGems. Ruby is an intuitive and beginner-friendly language with a supportive and dedicated community. Rails was designed for rapid development and prototyping, but it’s been successfully utilised by companies like GitHub, Twitter, and Airbnb, demonstrating its versatility. Rails’ data migration functionality is particularly excellent; unlike Node.js, which requires additional packages, Rails already includes a feature that allows you to manage your database quickly and consistently.

 

When should you use Rails over Node.js?

Although Rails cannot compete with Node in terms of performance and scalability, it can be a preferable alternative for quick development. To accomplish that pace of development, Node.js must rely on third-party modules, but Ruby does it in an unusual way. No tool has a clear advantage in terms of language – while Node.js has a high demand but low proposition, Ruby’s talent pool is initially smaller.

 

Django is a Python web framework that, according to StackOverflow data, is the fastest growing programming language. It’s marketed as a tool for perfectionists with tight deadlines, and it’s designed to let you write apps as quickly as possible, in the most structured, secure, and understandable way imaginable. Django, like Python, is thought to have a less difficult learning curve. While Node.js requires a thorough understanding of JavaScript, Django is a “batteries included” technology. It comes with an admin interface that allows you to simply update and maintain your databases and templates, allowing you to work faster.

 

When should you use Django over Node.js?

Django is a beginner-friendly tool when compared to Node.js. Apart from the language, there is no compelling reason to pick one over the other. It’s more about your comfort level and experience with JavaScript or Python than it is with the specific use cases.

 

Symfony is a PHP framework that comes with more than two decades of documentation and a large, active community. With projects like Facebook, Baidu, and any other WordPress-based website, PHP powers more than 80% of the web. While Symfony is only one of several PHP frameworks available, it is remarkably robust, scalable, and capable of handling large-scale applications. It also makes use of the Twig templating engine, which is similar to many PHP-based Content Management Systems.

 

When should you use Symfony over Node.js?

Symfony comes with built-in CMS capabilities like templates and admin dashboards, making it ideal for running blogs, news sites, and eCommerce websites. Yahoo Answers, Dailymotion, and National Geographic are just a few examples.

 

Make Node.js Shine

With all of the positives and downsides listed, it’s clear that Node.js isn’t a panacea. Java, on the other hand, isn’t. PHP or the.NET framework However, each of the technologies listed performs well in unique situations. These are real-time apps with a lot of I/O that require speed and scalability in Node.js. Hire dedicated Node.JS Developer

 

This might include social media platforms, gaming apps, live chats, and forums, as well as stock exchange software and ad servers, where performance is crucial. Node.js is the technology of choice for data-intensive, real-time IoT devices and apps because it is fast and scalable.

 

JavaScript has become a full-stack technology of choice for web application development thanks to Node.js. Node.js is ideal for encoding and broadcasting video and music, uploading numerous files, and data streaming because of its non-blocking architecture. The latter could be particularly useful for travel sector software that requires data to be sourced through a variety of APIs from various sources.

 

Node.js has recently seen a lot of use in enterprise software. Many significant enterprises and multinational organisations, such as Capital One and NASA, have already implemented Node.js, despite the fact that there is still much debate about it. With technologies like IBM API Connect, Joyent’s Triton, NodeSource’s N|Solid, Red Hat OpenShift, RisingStack’s Trace, and others, the enterprise Node.js ecosystem continues to grow.

 

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