Is Node.JS an Accomplished Programming Environment?

Node.JS Development Technology

There was a time in the beginning when Node.JS is considered just a new technology for startups.

Not anymore.

Node is used more and more by enterprises of all kinds.

But why?

Let’s look at what makes it appealing for big established companies for move to Node.JS development.

According to the Director of Engineering at PayPal, Node.JS powers their web applications and has allowed their teams to move much faster in bringing their designs to life.

A member of Technical Staff at eBay says, “Node’s evented I/O model freed us from worrying about locking and concurrency issues that are common with multithreaded async I/O.”

For the Mobile Development Lead at LinkedIn, the number one reason why their entire mobile software stack is built on Node, was scale. The second reason was the huge performance gains.

When Node.JS had its humble beginnings in 2009, it was seen as a moderate attempt to bring JavaScript to the server side. In no time, it waged war against legacy platforms, set forums on fire, bled communities and left developers in anguish and pain.

Believe it or not, this is not even the tip of the ice berg.

A quick Google search will give you a glimpse of the expanse of controversies. We particularly like this one:

“Callback hell is real
Debugging is a bitch
JavaScript was not made for server side.”

And this is a pretty straightforward one: “Node.JS is cancer.”

Wow. That’s a lot of heat to take. But it looks like Node.JS chose to go with what Lauren Oliver said.

“You can build walls all the way up to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them.”

A Glowing Star Called Node.JS

It is a JavaScript runtime built on Google’s V8 JS engine. It uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient.

Its popularity has been soaring over the last five years, whereas languages like C+ and PHP are losing steam. But like every newbie, it had a mainstream acceptance problem initially as a backend language. With 10 years of existence and growth, Node.JS has outlived the “fad” period and has become a robust mature platform. It has built a strong, growing ecosystem around it. Its package manager, NPM, is the largest software registry on the web, and it is proof of the influence it has over backend development. Probably NPM is the very foundation on which Node.JS development companies are built.

Node.JS revolutionized backend web development, became instrumental in the expansion of JavaScript ecosystem and led to the advancements in enterprise software development.

Over time, not a very long one, Node.JS has proven wrong many of the apprehensions and misconceptions people had about it earlier.

Node.JS epitomizes craftsmanship. It is functional, pragmatic and offers only the basic building blocks like file system access, protocol support and cryptology along with some utilities.

JavaScript supports event-based programming and makes it ideal for event callback constructs that are significant to asynchronous programming. This means that program execution doesn’t wait while performing I/O requests, which saves system resources and boosts performance.

We love Node.JS for another reason too – Enterprise-grade Long Term Support. LTS releases will be actively developed for 18 months and maintained for another 12 months. In effect, an LTS release stays in production for 30 months and receives patches and security fixes.

Node.JS development companies have it as their Bible. The focused and concise Node.JS docs will remind you of the essence of programming. No frills. No yellow dots on purple.

Where Node.JS Truly Shines

The nature and requirements for network connected software systems have changed dramatically over the years. Static websites are replaced by dynamic responsive ones. Additional content loads via XHR or Ajax or push technology like WebSockets. Streaming services are becoming popular. All kinds of data are expected to be delivered on different devices in multiple formats with the number of users growing forever.

These growing, changing requirements can be dealt with by adding hardware and extending software or by adding new layer to use existing infrastructure efficiently.

This is the playground of Node.JS.

It works perfectly well with web applications that gather data from different sources, consolidate it and push it to numerous clients in real time. It bridges the existing system by providing an easily-deployable migration layer.

There are tools in Node.JS, like webpack, which help reuse code and still maintain stability across all system levels. If we assume that you are already running your frontend with JavaScript, then code universality across the stack would be a great advantage. If you go for a full stack JavaScript, you can create a web app that renders both on browser and server seamlessly.

What is Node.JS Not Good At?

Node.JS developers love it when they have to create programs that deal with event-oriented I/O which simply means there are a lot of things Node.JS is not good at.

All core APIs are asynchronous, and Node makes blocking operations impossible. Though JavaScript’s execution speed is high, you can still block the event loop by performing CPU-intensive tasks. Node’s prime function will not be of much use if your backend needs to analyze data or do complex aggregation and filtering.

However, Node comes with many core APIs that are implemented natively which effectively run on separate threads selected from a thread pool. This makes it possible to do CPU-intensive tasks in Node without blocking.

Here comes the words of Ryan Dahl, creator of Node.JS; he was transparent in realizing the limitations of the system

– “I think Node is not the best system to build a massive server web. I would use Go for that. And honestly, that’s the reason why I left Node. It was the realization that oh, actually this is not the best server-side system ever.”

These notions were true at one point in Node.JS’ lifecycle. But now it has matured and grown enough that you are able to work around them, and the tools offered by the community allow you to do pretty much everything with Node.JS.

Node.JS Moves Ahead Stronger

Node.JS is a fantastic fit for many backend servers. Its soaring popularity among developers and growth of Node.JS development companies around the world is trying tell you something, and with good reason.

Its community support and libraries remain its greatest strength. Node.JS inherits all the benefits of JavaScript through the NPM package manager – the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries in the world.

The rapid adoption of APIs and new features by Node.JS enable developers to implement those and have value addition to their projects. As a consequence of “io.js hostile fork,” Node.JS is totally open source with open governance model and is supported by a versatile community of independent contributors and tech organizations who frequently contribute to Node’s efficiency.

Don’t you now think Node.JS is an accomplished programming environment?

Spericorn as a Node.JS Development Company

We have been building real-time collaborative apps, single page applications and scalable apps in Node.JS for a long time. Most of the time, our requirements revolve around handling multiple client requests, library code re-use and quick data sync between the client and the server. All these have been well taken care of by Node.JS, and it remains one of our favorite platforms for building our web applications.

In fact, there are more reasons why we are a leading Node.JS development company, but let’s not deviate from the topic.

We are in no way trying to conclude that Node.JS offers the best backend environment or that you should use it. We aren’t even saying that it is better than other popular backend languages like Java, C++, Python, Ruby, etc. Node.JS is simply another tool in the ever expanding universe of web development. It will get the job done extremely well in some situations but could be a pain in some other scenarios.

At the end of the day, it solely depends on the developer or the team to carefully think about the right stack for a new project. As a Node.JS development company, we do it every day.

Do you have any thoughts on Node? Any experiences you want to share? Please feel free to discuss your projects with us. We are pretty good at giving our two cents.