What Is Node.js And Why It Is Still Relevant Today – Technology Org

From its early beginnings in 2009 Node.js has evolved into a stable, user-friendly, cross-platform JavaScript runtime environment. Its capabilities are evident through its application by industry heavyweights such as Groupon, PayPal, and Netflix, amongst others.

Software development – illustrative photo. Image credit: Goumbik via Pixabay, free license

Unlocking Node.js’ capabilities is greatly simplified by pairing the development team with a development environment that natively supports Node.js. Having access to tools like automated code completion greatly improves the efficacy and accuracy of server-side scripting and improves Node.js App development, in the long run.

Introducing Node.js

To provide a comprehensive introduction to Node.js we need to rewind to the days when mainly PHP was utilized for server backend processes. During this period JavaScript was only utilized as a frontend language. While JavaScript was fast, it was limited to the client side and depended on the multithreading I/O blocking of PHP to return results from the server side.

While there was no need for improved responsiveness from websites both developers and users were just satisfied with the technology. Fast-forward a few years. E-commerce giants like Amazon, for example, realized that as their platforms became crowded the server response times spiked considerably.

In 2009 Ryan Dahl introduced Node.js to the world. Ushering in a landscape where real-time server response would become a reality.

Node.js is an open-source server environment, that utilizes JavaScript for both front and backend processing, allowing developers to utilize single-thread processing to surpass the processing capabilities of PHP.

Based on the V8 JavaScript engine Google built for their Google web browser, Node.JS grants developers the ability to develop server-side scripts. These server-side scripts facilitate advancements such as dynamic web content, generated even before the page is rendered on the user’s browser. Becoming an industry standard and coalescing developers of web applications across the globe, all building applications using a single language, JavaScript.

Benefits of Node.js

Node.js has a multitude of benefits mostly derived from the fact that it has matured into a robust platform for most development stacks. Speed of development results in an efficient expenditure of development man hours. Because a single language is being utilized a multitude of compatible tools and libraries have been written for it over the years.

Node.js’ lightweight nature makes it ideal for microservices too and is by far the most utilized platform for this purpose. Node.js does not need to convert binary models when communicating using JSON either, like other server-side languages.

The global adoption of Node.js is growing annually. This is especially due to the larger buy-in from corporates. This momentum from more than 200 organizations in multiple industries, has not only given Node.js the reputation it deserves but attracted many skilled developers who are continually expanding its capabilities. Allowing your organization to reap the benefits.

Would Node.js be The Right for You?

Node.js is unfortunately not a one-size-fits-all solution. Due to it being a single-threaded process its responsiveness wanes when it comes to certain scenarios. The first is: web applications that are connected to relational databases that rely heavily on joins or other complicated logic might not be a good fit for Node.js, depending on the circumstance.

Another scenario is where processor-intensive tasks need to happen server-side. Due to its IO model, while the active thread is waiting for server feedback the web application can slow down to a near halt. Greatly reducing the user experience on the client side of the application. For this kind of application, a multithreaded server side would be more beneficial.

In Conclusion

Node.js has truly stood the test of time. At the time of writing this article, Node.js was on release 19.x and it has been 13 years since its inception. It should be added that adding a fluid development environment with native Node.js support is ideal and will improve the time to market for web applications utilizing JavaScript for client-side rendering and server-side processing.

The caveat to Node.js is, however, that it is not a universal solution for all kinds of web applications. Some projects might require the ability to utilize a multithreaded server-side, such as those having a high server overhead due to complex operations and database constraints. Developers should implement a solution that will benefit their product and clients.

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