Node.js – A Frontend Envoy in the World of Backend

Node.js is an open source, cross-platform JavaScript environment that operates on servers. Since its release in 2009, it has become extremely popular and earned an important position in the web development world. The number of stars GitHub has given to Node.js shows its popularity – it has more than a 50,000 star rating.

The Node.js platform was built on the basis of JavaScript engine V8 produced by Google, which operates via Google Chrome. This platform is mainly used for web server creation, but the area of application isn’t limited to this.

Here we’ve listed the main benefits of Node.js.

1. High speed

Speed can be considered the most attractive feature of Node.js. The JavaScript code which runs in the Node.js environment is twice as fast as code written in compiled languages like C or Java, and several times faster than code in Python or Ruby. The key reasons for such a difference are the non-blocking architecture of the platform and the dependency of specific results from performance tests used, which summarily makes Node.js a very fast platform.

2. Simplicity

Node.js is easy to learn and use. It is really simple, especially in comparison to other server platforms.

3. JavaScript as a bonus

The Node.js environment uses JavaScript code. This allows millions of frontend developers who use JavaScript to write both server and client code in the same programming language. Such a unique point allows developers to eliminate the necessity of learning a completely new tool for server development.

The same language concepts are used in the browser and on the server. In addition, characteristics of Node.js allow quickly switching to the use of new ECMAScript standards. Developers do not need to wait until users refresh their browsers, because Node.js is a server environment that is fully controlled by a developer. Lastly, new language features are available after installation of an updated version of Node.js.

4. V8 engine

Node.js is based on Google’s open source V8 engine which operates in Google Chrome and other browsers. This means that the environment uses the achievements of Google’s engineers, such as Chrome’s incredibly fast JavaScript runtime, which is continuously being improved upon.

5. Asynchronicity

JavaScript simplifies the process of writing asynchronous and non-blocking code by using a single stream, callback functions (callbacks), and the event-based development approach. Whenever it needs to perform a difficult operation, a callback is transferred to the appropriate mechanism, and it will be called immediately after the completion of the operation. As a result, it is not necessary to wait for operation completion in order to continue.

Asynchronous mechanisms allow a Node.js server to simultaneously process thousands of connections without troubling the developer with a thread of management tasks and parallel code execution (which are often sources of error).

Node.js provides a developer with non-blocking basic input-output mechanisms, and even the Node.js libraries have been written using non-blocking paradigms. This makes blocking behavior an exception rather than the norm.

6. Libraries

Due to the convenience of working with the Node.js package manager, npm, the Node.js ecosystem is thriving. Currently, there are more than half a million open source packages in the npm registry that any Node.js developer can use freely.

Despite having obvious pluses, Node.js also has some drawbacks. Among them are npm immaturity due to the presence of a large number of free, untested components, and the risk of dissimilarity between new and previous environment’s versions. Moreover, sometimes it’s better to use a language with contractual interfaces and static type checking for complex projects because it can save time on debugging.

Finally, whether you can use Node.js or not depends on the type of project you’re doing and your actual resources. Companies like LinkedIn, Netflix, Under, and eBay have counted the cost and settled on this technology.