What Is Node.js? Why Do Programmers Prefer Working With It?


For several years, JavaScript has been one of the widely adopted programming languages among developers. The potential use of JavaScript is pretty extensive that you can use it to develop almost anything. Whether it is a comprehensive website or a complex server app. 

JavaScript has figured out its way from the browser to the server. It turned out to be very versatile in its use cases. All the credits go to Node.js. 

According to Statista, JavaScript is the most used programming language among developers worldwide, As of 2021. 

Node.js is one of the best choices for back-end development. Along with Node.js, PHP is also essential web technology leveraged for web development. Whether it’s Node.js or PHP, both are excellent options on different levels and for different scenarios. 

Node.js can be used for client-side as well as server-side development, whereas PHP works for the server-side. When you combine both, you will end up with a superior website. 

Here, we will explore why Node.js is one of the preferable choices for programmers. So let’s get going. 

Node.js – What is it? 

Node.js is a server-side platform developed on Google Chrome’s JS Engine (V8 Engine) to build scalable networking and server-side apps. 

Node.js makes use of event-driven, non-blocking I/O models. It makes Node.js a lightweight and highly efficient platform. Developers can create perfect data-intensive real-time applications that execute on distributed devices. 

Node.js uses JavaScript. It executes in the

  • Node.js runtime on OS X
  • Linux
  • Microsoft Windows

Node.js also contains a strong and productive library of different JS modules. It streamlines the web app development through Node.js to a considerable scale. 

Node.js = Runtime Environment + JS Library

Some of the Node.js Libraries are,

  • Express.js
  • Sails.js
  • Koa.js
  • Total.js
  • Meteor.js 

Why do developers love Node.js? 

Here we have mentioned some of the reasons. Have a look. 

#1. Easy Learning 

Node.js is based on a JavaScript runtime environment. So beginners can easily start their journey as a developer as JS is easy to learn. And somehow each developer knows JavaScript.  

Through the years, JS has emerged as one of the most preferred programming languages. It has also revolutionized based on modern programming requirements. It is easy for skilled developers to learn a lot of new things.  

#2. Rapid Development

Node.js make use of Chrome’s V8 engine. It compiles JS into native machine code and executes at a lightning speed. 

Node.js is backed by an event loop single thread. It asynchronously executes I/O operations. While executing the I/O operation in the Node.js app, many asynchronous tasks to the event loop get enabled by a callback function. As a result, operations keep executing constantly. 

Moreover, Node.js facilitates reading/writing to the filesystem and database for faster performance.

#3. Several Modules and Broad Community 

Node.js has a Node Package Manager (NPM) that is prompt and robust. It aids in defining and installing dependencies and exceeds the complications. The NPM keeps packages isolated from other projects that enable developers to avoid versioning conflict. 

On the contrary, Grunt is a susceptible task runner that also enhances your project. 

Node.js also has a broad community that is always ready to support to make things easy for developers. 

#4. Keeps Data in Native JSON

It is a great relief when you can use the same language on the client, server, and database sides. From browser to disk, it is feasible to store data in JSON format anywhere. There is no need for translation from client to server data. 

In other cases, client-to-server translation is conceivable, but not for the database. That is when Node.js shines among the rest by enabling developers to extend JS to persistent layers altogether.   

#5. Real-Time App Development 

Node.js is one of the best choices when it comes to real-time, multitasking apps development like chatting and gaming apps. The event loop feature deals with multi-user needs and the WebSocket protocol deals with real-time power. 

WebSocket protocol effectively sets up a two-way communication channel between the server and client-side. It facilitates simultaneous data pushing. The protocol executes on TGP and lets it avoid HTTP. 

#6. Single Codebase 

Using a leading-edge Meteor web framework that executes on one codebase, developers can write web apps. It helps with automated data sync between client and server. 

When developers write code on the client-side, data gets saved directly to the database and transferred to the server automatically. 

#7. Data Streaming 

If you want to develop a live video/audio streaming app, Node.js is an excellent choice. It deals with I/O operations wonderfully. So developers can build an app that transcodes audio/video files on being uploaded. I/O helps to mitigate processing time.

Node.js enables read/write streams WebSockets that allow the webpage to run the operation in real-time. 

#8. Backed by Top Brands and Linux 

Many open-source projects get abandoned. It is a serious issue for any framework, tool, and library. 

Node.js is backed by top volunteer corporations such as, 

  • Microsoft
  • Walmart
  • Joyent
  • Paypal 

Node.js is also part of the Linux foundation.

#9. Hosting Options 

As more developers are using Node.js, the hosting is escalating. 

For example, Xervo offers a portable, extensible, and tailor-made hosting platform focused on Node.js deployment. It is offered by PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) along with other hosting providers. You can eliminate the stress of deploying it as it is possible with a single command. 

#10. JS is Universal 

JavaScript has been dominating the tech sector for a long time, even before Node was in its early stages. Therefore, it is pretty obvious that each developer writes code for JavaScript, at least a little. 

So getting involved with JavaScript is now easy for most developers. It is familiar to almost 99% of developers globally. 

Big Names that use Node.js

Since its inception in 2009, Node.js has become an essential tech environment for multiple industry leaders. Today, startups to enterprises choose Node.js.  

TwitterNetflixLinkedIn
PayPalSpotifyUber
WalmartTrelloeBay

Node.js Use Cases

Developing CLI and building tools
Developing mobile apps and their backend
Writing Middlewares
Management system development 
Scripting & Automation
Creating Workers
React Apps Rendering 
IoT
Remote System Tracking 
Authentication

Summing Up 

There is no wonder why JS is widely adored by developers. But in some projects, there is a need for heavy computational CPU work, where JS is not an appropriate option. 

The agile runtime environment might not suit each enterprise app. However, startups can leverage it for the rapid app development process. 

The advantages of Node.js surpasses many of its negative aspects. So before initiating development, assess the platform and whether it is a good fit for your project based on your requirements and goals. 

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