Node.js: Pros and Cons and Main Features

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Today, Node.js is getting much well-deserved praise, and many companies have switched their tech stack to Node.js, including Paypal, LinkedIn, Uber, Yahoo, Medium, GoDaddy, Groupon, Walmart, and many others.

This blog post will explore why web developers prefer Node.js to build their applications and explain what other digital solutions this technology is good for.

What is Node.js?

Node.js is an out-of-browser JavaScript runtime that allows you to write server-side code for web pages, web applications, and command-line programs.

It is not a separate programming language but a platform for using JavaScript on the server side. So if we talk about the language, the same JavaScript is used for both the front-end and back-end. The difference is only in the set of APIs that front-ends and back-ends use.

Advantages of Node.js

Cross-platform. Node.js is an independent runtime based on Chrome V8, the JavaScript engine. This means that this runtime can execute the application code itself, regardless of the operating system type.

Extensive ecosystem. The number of ready-made modules and external libraries is constantly growing, facilitated by using the npm (Node Package Manager). Thousands of libraries and tools for JavaScript development are published to npm. With ongoing support from the community, npm focuses on encouraging users to add new packages to have plenty of ready-made solutions for a particular problem.

Streaming data. Streams are a collection of data, and handling that data requires first-class I/O data handling techniques. Node.js handles this kind of I/O well, allowing users to transcode media files as they are being downloaded simultaneously. It takes less time compared to other data processing methods to process data. Its threads make I/O tasks much more manageable.

Strong corporate support. In 2015, some companies, including IBM, Microsoft, PayPal, Fidelity, and SAP, organized the Node.js Foundation (since 2019 - OpenJS Foundation). This is an independent community whose goal is to promote the development of the main tools of Node.js. The Foundation was created to accelerate Node.js development and ensure its widespread adoption. Now, the number of organizations using this runtime in development is continuously growing. It includes almost three hundred well-known companies such as Medium, Uber, and others.

Disadvantages of Node.js

Immaturity of tooling. While the core modules of Node.js are fairly stable and mature, many npm tools create difficulties due to their poor quality or lack of clear documentation and testing. Also, the npm registry itself is not well structured to suggest tools based on their rating or quality. Thus, searching for the best-fit solution may be time-consuming without knowing what to look for.

JavaScript flaws. JavaScript is far from an ideal language. Node.js developers may experience some difficulties when working with this language. But this can be often fixed with TypeScript - a strongly typed programming language that builds on JavaScript, giving better tooling at any scale.

Lack of experienced professionals. The demand for Node.js development is constantly on the rise, and the number of developers is lagging, forcing companies to compete for highly skilled professionals. In Axon, dedicated teams of Node.js developers guarantee a transparent workflow and perfect execution.

Business Benefits of Node.js

Web developers use the power of Node.js to create online games, social platforms, instant messengers, streaming services, and video conferencing applications. For example, the social network LinkedIn preferred Node.js over Ruby on Rails because the former is better suited for continuous real-time data updates.

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Node.js is easy to learn and develop, which speeds up the process of building applications. This platform is especially suitable for startups with tight timeframes and small budgets, as it allows you to bring the MVP, the minimum viable version of the application, to market as quickly as possible.

A key aspect of any software development project is cost-effectiveness and maximum return on investment. The less time it takes to develop applications using the framework, the more efficient and profitable the project is. Node.js meets all the requirements for efficiency. This cross-platform solution is used to create reliable, scalable, and high-performance web applications. The Node.js platform is widely employed in building business applications for small and large businesses.

When to Use Node.js?

Node.js has many advantages. It is a lightweight, reliable, and highly scalable environment that makes software development easier. But what types of applications can software developers create with Node.js?

Real-time applications

Node.js is ideal for building social media apps, streaming services, collaboration tools, interactive business websites, instant messengers, and more. All these applications have one thing in common - they can transmit live text, audio, or video data.

With an event-driven framework and WebSockets, Node.js can efficiently process high-traffic real-time streams and support high-level streaming with read/write data streams. As a result, users do not experience delays in data exchange or updates.

Streaming services

The popularity of online video and music services is constantly growing. Many established platforms and emerging startups want to include these features in their solutions. For example, streaming giant Netflix uses Node.js to process its high-definition video stream. Any developer can add streaming features to their application - Node.js includes several ready-made modules for streaming large amounts of data over an extended period.

IoT projects

The Internet of Things (IoT) has grown tremendously over the past 10 years, and Node.js has become a popular platform for the back-end development of related applications. This is because Node.js can work with large amounts of constantly changing data in real time. In addition, it easily integrates with the MQTT and WebSockets protocols and contains more than 130 modules for working with various IoT devices.

Applications with microservice architecture

Any application based on microservice architecture can be easily created using Node.js. This type of architecture involves the use of separate modules with little functionality integrated into a single application. Software developers often use microservices architecture to build complex and large enterprise applications. This helps improve application scalability and makes it easier to change them.

Find out how to move from a monolithic architecture to microservices!

Conclusion

Node.js is a real godsend for software engineers and plays an essential role in the technology stack. Node.js is an increasingly popular server-side development framework that makes it easy to develop universal applications for large companies, SMBs, and startups.

If you need a dedicated team of Node.js developers, don’t hesitate to contact the Axon team! We create turnkey software solutions and provide full-cycle software development services of any complexity.

Axon Development Group
September 21, 2022
Software Architecture

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