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Node.js is the most popular non-language, non-database development tool. It has quickly become one of the most widely used options among application developers. 

Big enterprises recognize Node.js as a perfect choice for building dynamic websites because of its speed and multitasking abilities. Finance, healthcare, and education are among the primary industries that leverage Node.js.

If you’re currently looking for the best technology for your project, this blog will help you to find out the benefits of Node.js and the challenges the development team might face while using this technology.


What is Node.js?

Node.js is neither a framework nor a library but an open-source server environment. Being based on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, Node.js is designed to build scalable network applications.

Node.js was launched in 2009 and has quickly gained popularity as the most widely used non-language, non-database development tool due to its simplicity, speed, and multitasking abilities.

JavaScript developers who want to take their coding to the next level love Node.js and the people who are hiring these developers take advantage of fast, real-time, event-driven servers, therefore Node.js developers are in high demand.


What Node.js is Used For?

applications of Node.js

The benefits of Node.js make it a good option for different types of applications. Here are the most common:


Real-time Web Applications

RTAs are the type of web application where data is transmitted instantaneously between users and servers. They react to changes anywhere in the connected app’s system, not only those made by the current user.

Node.js has all the features required for real-time chats of any complexity, in particular, an Event API.


Single-page Applications

SPAs is a web application that requires just one browser page to run. Instead of loading a new page, the app dynamically rewrites the existing one. With SPAs, users have a similar experience as if they were using a desktop application.

Because of an advanced runtime environment that can handle asynchronous calls and large I/O workloads easily, Node.js is widely used for complex SPAs.


Streaming Applications

Contrary to remote server apps, application streaming executes the program on the end user’s local machine. The big advantage of app streaming is that parts of the application can be downloaded on demand without making the server overburdened.

Native Stream API, a readable and writing stream interface that can be processed and monitored quickly makes Node.js an ideal option for creating streaming applications.


Online Payment Services

Node.js is a popular choice for building robust online payment solutions. One of the first financial behemoths to leverage Node.js was PayPal. PayPal reported reducing its startup time from 40+ minutes to under a minute with Node.js.

So what are the advantages of Node.js that lead to such broad usage of this technology?


Internet of Things

Sensors, beacons, and actuators are built-in IoT devices, enabling them to broadcast and receive data. Node.js is one of the most popular technologies for developing private and public IoT devices.


Advantages of Node.js - Why Use Node.js For Web App Development

node.js advantages

There are numerous Node.js advantages that make it a popular choice for web development of companies like Netflix, NASA, Paypal, and many small startups.


#1 Easy to Learn

The learning curve of Node.js is not steep as long as you’re familiar with Object-oriented programming and JS fundamentals. Node.js facilitates the use of JavaScript on the server-side, therefore, it’s quite easy for developers who are familiar with JS to get started with it.

Node.js also offers extensive documentation and there are plenty of courses and tutorials on GitHub so you can easily find quality information for learning.


#2 Robust Technology Stack

JavaScript has been winning the podium among the most popular programming languages for a few years in a row. If you opt for Node.js for backend development, you automatically receive all the benefits of full-stack JS development such as:

  • Great speed and performance;
  • The ability for code reuse and sharing;
  • A large number of free tools.

The code on the front end and back end can be reused by being wrapped into modules. As a result, your development team is flexible, and the development process is less time- and cost-consuming so you get your product faster and can constantly improve it without much effort.


#3 High-Performance for Real-time Apps

One of the advantages of Node.js is that it gives the ability to build powerful and high-performance applications that immediately display results. And the reason for this is Node.js multitasking abilities. Node.js has a single-threaded and event-driven architecture that makes it outperform others and process a number of concurrent requests without clogging the RAM. Event-loop and non-blocking I/O operations make the execution of code possible at a pace that significantly improves the performance of the application.

What is more, Node.js is built on Google Chrome’s V8 engine and written in C++. As Google invests non-stop in its engine to enhance security, performance, etc., it directly results in better performance of V8 and Node.js correspondingly.

PayPal reported a 35% decrease in average response time for the same page. After switching to Node.js from Java, pages get served 200ms faster.


#4 Big and Active Community Support

As an open-source technology, Node.js is being used, built, and maintained by its community. Without any money-oriented governance, Node.js can boast of having one of the biggest and most vibrant communities among the technologies. 

According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey results 2021, Node.js moves to sixth place among the most loved by professional developers technologies and takes sixth place among the most wanted technologies.
node.js popularity

Node.js has 88,3k stars on Github which also verifies its popularity among the developers.


#5 Cost-effective with Full-stack JavaScript

One of the Node.js advantages that makes it a popular choice among business owners is its cost-saving abilities:


  • Front-end developers with JavaScript experience can easily work on the back-end with Node.js, so you don’t need to pay for two separate teams for front-end and back-end development.
  • Programmers can drive to a minimum an application’s server footprint due to Node.js more efficient usage of resources.
  • Pre-built microservices from the community facilitate the development process and time to market;
  • Node.js scalability makes adding functionality easier and faster, cutting down on development time and cost.

#6 Easy Scalability for Modern Applications

Node.js supports a large number of concurrent connections. Apps written in Node.js can be extended by adding new modules without requiring much effort. 

What is more, the technology relies on a cluster module. The cluster module operates as a load balancer that distributes different processes across all existing CPU cores. Consequently, Node.js apps can cope with a very big number of processes fast and effectively.

The modular architecture of Node.js makes the development process easier and faster, reducing the development time and developers’ efforts which is undoubtedly one of the biggest Node.js advantages. Development of separate microservices can run simultaneously, smoothing modular addition of functionality to apps.


#7 Best Solution For Customized Requirements

The projects constantly evolve and you can never think that you are finally done with improvements or adding new features to your software. The good news about Node.js is that it can be easily extended and customized for fast-growing projects.

The proof of this is a wide usage of Node.js by large companies that strive to keep up with the latest technology trends and get the best possible efficiency.

Node.js can be extended by using a built-in API for developing HTTP, DNS servers, and JSON which makes the process of data exchange between web servers and clients very fast and simple.


#8 JSON Support

Unlike other backend technologies such as Ruby on Rails or PHP that use the JSON format for communication, Node.js doesn’t require converting between binary models and leverages JavaScript. This is extremely beneficial if you have to build RESTful APIs for NoSQL database support.


#9 Helps in Building Cross-Functional Teams

Node.js offers full-stack development capabilities so companies can build a team that focuses exclusively on enhancing the development cycle of the project and addressing challenges immediately. Such an approach guarantees better productivity of the development, testing, and analysts team and as a result, speeds up the time to market.



functional vs cross-functional

#10 Lessen Loading Time by Quick Caching

The use of single-module caching is another of the benefits of Node.js that facilitates its performance. As soon as a module is requested, it is cached in in-application memory. Subsequent calls to the module approach the cached version instead of recompiling the module.

Quick caching will guarantee users of the application a seamless experience as Node.js applications load quickly and are more responsive.


#11 Reduces the Time-to-Market of Apps

Node.js has over 700k modules on Node Package Manager. Instead of coding mundane things, developers can use ready-made modules that significantly reduce the development time. Moreover, according to the survey held by the Node.js team, the majority of developers and project managers name usage of Node.js as the main factor in increasing developers’ productivity. It results in faster release of products and updates.


Disadvantages of Node.js

No tool is perfect and there are some disadvantages of Node.js you should be aware of before choosing it for your project.

node.js disadvantages

#1 Unstable API

API in Node.js is infamous for lack of stability. It often changes and these changes haven’t been backward compatible which makes software engineers spend more time and effort on it.


#2 Lack of Library Support

Being an open-source technology, Node.js has a plethora of libraries and modules available for developers though there are many loopholes in the documentation. Hence it’s important to partner with developers who have enough experience with this technology and won’t get into this trap.

#3 Difficulties to Maintain Code

The asynchronous approach makes it difficult to maintain code in Node.js. The technology relies a lot on callbacks and in case too many compound callbacks are received, it’s called a “callback hell”. Under this scenario, it’s challenging to maintain code.


#4 Decreases Performance When Handling Heavy Computing Tasks

Being single-threaded and event-driven, Node.js has a lot of advantages for development but at the same time, these are the main factors that have a negative impact on performance when it comes to executing heavy CPU-based computing. 


#5 High Demand for Experienced Node.js Developers

Actually, this point can be applied to any popular technology, especially the one that is used by large and worldwide companies.

Companies looking for Node.js developers frequently find that they cannot hire enough expertise to meet their needs. Due to the gap in skilled Node.js developers and those willing to hire them, the average salary of Node.js developers runs on a higher-end - $105k annually, according to Payscale.


Popular Apps Using Node.js

Node.js is used by at least 30 million websites. A wide range of big companies leverages Node.js. For example, it’s the primary backend language for eBay.

node.js usage

Recap

Node.js is a good choice for both startup and enterprise development which can be proven by its successful usage by companies with world-known names. However, there are some challenges in Node.js development that programmers should learn to avoid. Therefore it’s crucial to find a software development company that will ensure delivering the project with the best quality standards.

Feel free to contact inVerita to discuss Node.js implementation in your project.
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