Node.js has become the most popular development environment. An increasing number of developers and companies (including tech giants such as LinkedIn or PayPal) are praising Node for its impressive performance. It’s an excellent choice for building scalable apps, and thanks to its microservices architecture, it is easier to set up a quality web application than ever before. We’ve listed six biggest benefits that make Node.js a strong rival for other frameworks when it comes to web development.
Node.js advantages: it offers great app performance
Half of the respondents of the Node.js 2017 User Survey noticed improved application performance in comparison to other solutions. What's more, the perceivable benefits have been growing over time. The survey shows that Node.js users who worked with the technology for more than two years appreciate its impact on app performance ten percent more often than developers who have used it for a shorter time.
Node.js applications owe their increasing performance over time to a few elements. First of all, Node.js is good at multitasking. It can process multiple tasks concurrently in one thread, instead of queueing them.
As of v10.5.0, Node.js started supporting worker threads, which are pushing the possibilities further still. Offloading CPU-intensive synchronous tasks to threads can result in more competitive edge.
The 2018 survey has made us even more confident in suggesting Node.js as the right technology for our partners.
Respondents said that using Node.js resulted in increased developer productivity and satisfaction, reducing the development cost as a result. It also increased the performance of the applications it was used for.
Node.js scales perfectly
Node.js users argue that it scales better than most other platforms. It works perfectly with the leading cloud computing tools, keeps the infrastructure costs under control, and gives you access to the best services that predict usage spikes, expand resources and control the development process. Why does Node.js scale so well?
On top of that, Node.js is a perfect solution for a microservices architecture, a software development approach that provides scalability and reliability. Using microservices, you build your app from separate small blocks that perform one function. Each block receives information, computes it, and delivers the result. You can add, multiply, and remove these elements according to your needs. This brings stability. If one element crashes, for instance, the checkout in an e-commerce solution, the users who are browsing the other parts of the store will not notice it.
All of the big players in the serverless world (AWS, GCP, Azure) provide support for serverless Node.js, greatly enhancing the architectural capabilities and decreasing the operational overhead. Serverless Node.js allows us to create two applications but manage only one as the housekeeping of serverless functions is the provider’s responsibility for most part.
If you want your application to be naturally connected with the best services available, Node.js the backend solution you should choose. Node.js is modular at heart. It is an environment created for building software from “nodes” or bricks, so plugging in external services is like breathing for Node.js.
Also, the community around Node.js is vibrant. Even if the web service developer doesn’t provide an official integration, you will likely find a crowdsourced solution to your problem.
Finally, thanks to using microservices with Node.js and AWS, you can forget about server infrastructure or hiring DevOps engineers. You can use Lambda and Serverless instead. They provide a cloud computing platform for your application. You don’t have to configure the server - just upload your code and it’s running. You can choose either a relational or a non-relational database for your application.
Node.js is perfect for real-time communication, which is becoming a must for a growing number of projects. Real-time communication is an omnipresent functionality in contemporary applications. Users expect to see when their friend is typing in a chat app. Investors want the stock quotes to tick in front of their eyes. In social media, we want like and share counts to add up on the fly as we scroll down through tweets or posts.
In traditional applications, if you wanted to see what the other person was typing in a document (e.g. Google Docs), the server had to continually send requests to your browser asking: “Do we have a new letter?”, “No!”, “Do we have a new letter?”, “No!”, “Do we have a new letter?”, “Yes, it’s an L,” “do we have a new letter?”, “No”... Today, such an approach is unacceptable in many cases, as real-time has become the standard.
With Node.js, if you type a letter in Google Docs, the browser instantly sends the information to the server, and the server comes back with a reply. That is why people working on the document can see the text as you type. This is much more convenient, and it is also the reason why real-time protocols are trending.
On top of that, Node.js has excellent support for WebSockets, which is the most popular real-time communication solution. Node.js allows for a much faster exchange of data between the client and the server than most other technologies. It also provides a steady and continuous connection between the browser and the server, and, every time a server and the client want to talk, the information shows up immediately.
Node.js advantages: it has a very vibrant community
Each year Stackoverflow, a forum where developers talk about their favourite technologies, education, experience, job preferences, and more, conducts a survey among its users. Node.js is by far the most popular technology in the “Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools” category. Almost 50 per cent out of 51,620 respondents declared that they used Node.js, with Angular and React coming second and third, with 37 per cent and 28 per cent of votes respectively.
If your web app gains traction, you can be almost sure that sooner or later you will need to customise it to meet the particular needs of the stakeholders. The good news is that if you choose Node.js as your backend technology any modifications shouldn’t be a problem.
In the long term, it’s a significant advantage. When you plan to create an app, you have to take many stakeholders into consideration: end users (customers), business partners, investors, your own (or your client's) vision, regulators (there’s always another GDPR surprise waiting around the corner), and finally, what the software developers think.
Each of these groups has an impact on the application you are building. Furthermore, each one of them can most likely be divided into subgroups. What’s more, their impact will change with time and the growth of your project.
Developers can build each module ("node") with a different set of tools (web services, packages, programmes, frameworks, etc.), which makes Node.js conveniently adaptive to change. When you come up with an idea for a functionality, your software engineers can respond by choosing the best solution to build it.
Secondly, the logic of Node.js is straightforward, event-based, and easy to test. With Node.js not only can you add modules very quickly, but also customise them effortlessly.
Choosing a backend technology for your web app is tough. If you are looking for a reliable solution, there are lots of arguments for Node.js. Regardless of the many benefits just listed, there are two main reasons for choosing Node.js: it is getting older and more popular. You want your backend framework (or environment) to last as long as possible and to be supported and expanded forever. Node.js has it all: very active and still growing community, great support from the biggest tech players, and unique features that make Node.js performant, developer-friendly and scalable. The trend for Node.js is very promising.