Node, also known as Node.js, is a cross-platform runtime environment that allows you to run JavaScript outside of a browser. It offers the capability of creating high-performance and highly scalable server-side, or back-end services, APIs, and applications.

Node is a significant web technology because, before its development, JavaScript was only able to run in browsers, as it was originally designed. However, this changed in 2009 when developer Ryan Dahl wrapped a C++ program around Google Chrome’s innovative V8 JS engine, to create an external runtime environment in which JavaScript could be executed. Now, many of JavaScript’s best features could be extended to server-side technology as well.

WHY CHOOSE NODE.JS?

TypeScript can do everything that JavaScript can do, like creating websites, web-based applications, mobile applications, databases and more. Plus, it's compatible with all the popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries such as Angular, React, Express, and Node.

In summary:

  • Asynchronous, Single-threaded, Non-blocking I/O
  • Highly Scalable
  • JavaScript from Front to Back

ASYNCHRONOUS, SINGLE-THREADED, NON-BLOCKING I/O

The first advantage that Node offers is increased performance thanks to its asynchronous, single-threaded, non-blocking I/O capabilities. A lot of other server-side technology is thread-based, meaning a new system thread, or connection, is created for a request to the server. The thread persists until the request has been completed, with the thread waiting for read/write operations, such as uploading or downloading a file or retrieving a file from a drive. This can be computationally expensive, putting a drain on system resources if too many threads are running at the same time.

Asynchronous, single-threaded, non-blocking I/O, on the other hand, does not wait for I/O operation to finish, before it can move onto the next request. Instead of multiple threads, it makes use of JavaScript’s event loop to handle incoming requests. If the server can fulfil a request it does so, and if not, it puts the process in the event queue. By doing this, it doesn’t block other incoming requests from being carried out, which is the non-blocking part of the process. Now, when a request can be carried out, such as when a download finishes or a file is successfully read, it is then retrieved from the event queue and processed. This makes the I/O event-driven, as it responds to events, rather than thread-based, with the system just calling on more resources to handle more requests. Not only is this faster, making for better performing applications, but it's more memory efficient as well.

For a simplified real-world example of how this works, consider a fast food restaurant: When a customer comes in and places an order with person at the cash register, this is the same as a client making a request to the server. Imagine if when the employee at the register takes an order and passes it to the kitchen, they then go off to the kitchen to prepare the food before moving on to the next customer; this is similar to how blocking I/O works. The queue will continue to grow until another cashier opens a register, which in this case is like an additional thread.

Instead, upon receiving the order, the cashier passes it onto the kitchen, who sets about making the food. Now, in some cases, if the food is already made or easy to prepare, like a drink or ice cream, the cashier can give it to the customer straight away, so they leave the queue. Others take a little more time, so the customer stands to the side while it’s prepared, and another customer is served. This is the equivalent of a request going into the event queue. Eventually, when the food is ready, the customer is served and leaves the queue – much like a request being fulfilled and leaving the event loop.

HIGHLY SCALABLE

Node’s event-driven model directly ties into the its second advantage — the fact that it’s highly scalable. Because it's single-threaded and doesn’t place a significant drain on system resources, it’s easy to run multiple instances of the same application. What’s more, Node has the in-built capability to scale on a single machine or multiple machines; which allows for efficient horizontal scaling.

This makes Node ideal for rapidly growing businesses that regularly see increased traffic to their site or application, as well as those with strong seasonal demand with sharp bandwidth increases at certain times of the year.

JAVASCRIPT FROM FRONT TO BACK

The third major advantage to using Node is that your entire site or application, from the front-end to the back-end, can be written in JavaScript and will fit together seamlessly. In what’s known as ‘full-stack’ JavaScript, the different parts of your system will represent, create, store, retrieve, and transfer data in the same way.

This will result in a faster, more robust, and better-performing application which is much easier to develop and maintain. This also leads to faster, more efficient and more cost-effective development as there’s way less configuration between different platforms and technologies.

NODE.JS AND FRONTIT

We have a lot of experience in implementing back-end apps and services with Node and know how it can drastically improve an application’s performance. We can help you:

  • Create full-stack JavaScript applications
  • Create back-end services and apps
  • Replace your existing back-end services

WHY CHOOSE US?

Our developers know how to take advantage of the powerful framework, libraries and tools on offer to create different components of your application. This includes Express.js, which is a framework for building web server applications. As it gives developers lots of ready-made components for creating apps, instead of having to code them from scratch, they can develop faster.

We also know how to make use of Node while following Agile development practices, where the creation of software and applications is broken down into smaller stages, with each one resulting in a working prototype of the desired end result. Working in this way, Agile development leads to more performant and robust applications delivered on-time and within production budgets.

We’d love to hear your ideas and what you’re working on!

What does success look like for you and your company? Let’s find out together!

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We’d love to hear your ideas and what you’re working on!