Why To Choose Node.js for Server Side Programming

    Friday, December 8, 20176 min read21117 views
    Why To Choose Node.js for Server Side Programming

    What is Node.js?

    Node.js is an application runtime environment that allows you to write server-side applications built on Chrome's V8 JavaScript engine. It excels at the sort of scalable and real-time situations we are increasingly demanding of our servers.  It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, its ability to use JavaScript on both frontend and backend adds an advantage for development. Node.js package ecosystem, npm, is the largest ecosystem of open source libraries in the world. Many big companies have adopted Node.js in the production environment. In this article, I want to discuss why to use node.js for development and in what cases it might not be the best idea.

    Why choose Node.js for web development

    There are two important things that make Node.js development different to existing server-side frameworks is the use of JavaScript as a programming language and Asynchronous events.

    nodejs features


    JavaScript is the programming language that web applications are using on the client. Using the same language on the server-side means that the developer can apply his JavaScript knowledge both on the client and the server, and use the same functions as needed.

    Asynchronous Events

    While most of the existing server-side frameworks use asynchronous architecture, Node.js uses an asynchronous architecture, which JavaScript can handle well. This means that the server reacts to events and sends events (messages) to e.g. the database. This style of programming is very different to a synchronous style and may be hard to use with other languages. Node.js employs an asynchronous style with asynchronous IO and can scale well.

    Event Driven Architecture

    It's a family of styles that allow components to communicate through asynchronous messages. Systems based on event-based styles are often organized as a loosely coupled federation of components that trigger behavior in other components through events.

    A variety of event styles exist, for example:

    • Point-to-Point
    • Publish-Subscribe

    Crosscutting concerns are addressed by aspect style.aspect style is a module style, event-based style - runtime style, so it's important not to mix them up.

    Real-time web apps? No problem!!

    RTA is an application program that functions within a time frame that the user senses as immediate or current. The latency has to be less than a defined value, usually measured in seconds. The use of RTAs in your applications is called the Real Time computing (RTC).

    • Fast and Scalable: You can use it to create the network applications as the JavaScript execution is fast. The single threaded model with event loop is very helpful and allows handling multiple client requests. It is one of the major advantages of using Node.js for web applications development.

    • Sharing and reusing: It is all fine to share packages of library code. If a developer faces any problem, the Node Package Manager (NPM), with its repository of more than 50,000 packages, helps the developer with the solutions. Updating, sharing and reusing of code are much easier now.

    • Streams in Node.js: As Node.js is event-driven, tackling of I/O bound tasks are extremely good. The streams are UNIX pipes which make it easy reading the data from the source and pipe it to the destination

    • Data sync between client and server: Data transfer between the client and server happens fast because Node.js enables writing JavaScript on both client and server side.

    • Event-based server: An Event-based & non-blocking driven server is best suited if the web applications get to handle a large number of real-time users.

    • Different modules: Availability of file system I/O, networking binary data, data streams and other functions is important. Node.js’s modules use an API designed to reduce the complexity of writing server

    • Applications. These applications can run on MacOS, Microsoft Windows, NonStop, and UNIX servers.

    • Differentiation with PHP: Node.js is primarily used to build network programs such as Web servers. The biggest difference between Node.js and PHP is that most functions in PHP block until completion while

    • Functions in Node.js : Functions in node.js are designed to be non-blocking. Node.js has brought event-driven programming to web servers. The freelance web designer community is using Node.js for a long time.

    • C and C++ Support: Node.js supports c and c++ for speed up the processing. Node.js Add-ons are dynamically-linked shared objects, written in C++, that can be loaded into Node.js using the require() function, and used just as if they were an ordinary Node.js module. Node.js primarily used to provide an interface between JavaScript running in Node.js and C/C++ libraries.Node submits the request to the processor but processor fetch the request one by one so the request from the node has to wait till the processor completes the existing process and fetch the next request, but using the c and c++.

    NPM Package Manager:

    The main advantage, from the perspective of a developer, is simple: local package installation.

    • npm lets you choose between global and local installation (with local being the default). In the local installation, the packages are installed into a directory called `npm_modules` inside the current (i.e. your app's) directory. Node automatically makes all locally installed packages available to a running app, so there are no conflicts with other apps' packages.

    • If an npm package has other dependencies, they are installed into that package's directory, NOT into a shared one. I.e. if my project requires package A and B, and both of these require incompatible versions of package C, they will each get their own copy that is local to them. No more dependency conflicts!

    • you can just copy and paste the project files and install dependencies on other system using npm. There is no need to copy your entire project files like node_modules or any.

    • If a package provides command-line tools, it can still be installed system-wide, by using the '-g' flag.

    Of course, this approach means that packages may be duplicated on the filesystem, but with the size of most packages vs. the size of current hard drives, that's really not so much of an issue.

    When data streaming is the real deal

    I/O bound applications are at a greater advantage with the way streams are managed in node.js. Data Streaming is one of the most powerful applications of node.js given that there are very few to choose from. As a majority of the data that come into the systems are in the form of streams, a lot of time can be saved during the process. The ultimate aim is to utilize the time during another operation, and node.js facilitates just that.

    To summarize, Node.js is a cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment for servers and applications. It is built on a single-threaded, non-blocking event loop, the Google Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, and a low-level I/O API. Various techniques, including the cluster module, allow Node.js apps to scale beyond a single CPU core. Beyond its core functionality, Node.js has inspired an ecosystem of half a million packages that are registered and versioned in the NPM repository and can be installed using the NPM command line.

    also refer our article on: 6 Ways To Make Your Node JS Web App Faster


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