A Look Into Node.js
In this article, we take a look at the reasons to use Node.js for developing web apps and for which use cases it should be used.
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Recently, I came across an interesting snippet of data about Node.js: it is being utilized by a some of the greatest worldwide associations including NASA, Airbnb, PayPal, LinkedIn, Netflix, Uber, and Walmart. Actually, 98% of Fortune 500 companies utilize Node.js on a regular basis.
It is certainly overwhelming the market and for good reason.
According to Director of Engineering and Chief Architect at PayPal, their Node.js-based application required 33% fewer lines of code, handled double the number of requests per second, and shortened response time by 35% compared to the Java version.
That is a significant feat, wouldn't you say?
Many big companies have adopted Node.js in their production environment. Now it's time to take a quiz on what, why, and when. In this article, I'll examine the reasons to utilize Node.js for improvement and for which cases it would work the best.
Here's a formal definition as given by the official Node.js website:
Why Choose Node.js
The main idea of Node.js: use non-blocking, event-driven I/O to remain lightweight and efficient in the face of data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.
Ryan Dahl, the inventor of Node.js, states that being inspired by applications like Gmail, he was aiming to devise a system for building websites with real-time push capabilities. So, the event-driven programming became the heart of Node.js.
"With event-driven programming, Tom Hughes-Croucher author of Node: Up and Running) says, 'The actual amount of resources you use is much smaller, and you can get a lot more out of fewer servers.'"
What Is Node.js Good For?
In short, Node.js applications are devised to maximize throughput and efficiency, using non-blocking I/O and asynchronous events. Node.js applications run single-threaded, although it uses multiple threads for file and network events. Due to its asynchronous nature, Node.js is commonly used for real-time applications.
So, while there is some discussion about suitable Node.js use, what are the best use cases? Payment gateways, media, e-commerce platforms, social media, enterprise web apps, and backends/APIs for mobile apps are the potential application areas of Node.js.
Node.js for the Future
The chat application is the most typical real-time application where Node.js shows what it can do in terms of handling multiple users, intensive data, big traffic, and running across devices. Additionally, it's great to learn Node while making a chat app, as it covers almost all the programming of a typical Node.js application.
Because of HTML, server-side web applications are not a typical use case for Node.js. However, in the event that you combine Node.js and Express.js, you can make exemplary web applications on the server-side.
Node.js has some positive highlights in data streaming utilizing the fact that HTTP requests and responses are basically data streams. For example, processing data while it's simply being transferred, e.g. for sound/video encoding.
Another use case of Node.js is monitoring dashboards to gather on-going information about website visitors and visualization. User statistics and the ability to see what they are doing instantly, is definitely a great add-on for businesses.
Time will prove whether Node is that next big thing.
Node.js was never made to solve the compute scaling issue. It was made to tackle the I/O scaling issue, which it does extremely well. Being single-threaded, Node.js might be a bad choice for web servers serving as computational servers, since heavy computation will block the server's responsiveness. If your use case does not contain CPU escalated activities or get to any blocking resources, you can exploit the advantages of Node.js and make quick and adaptable system applications.
Published at DZone with permission of Rohitha Elsa Philip, DZone MVB. See the original article here.
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