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Node.js Services Integrations - How Your Web Application Can Benefit from Node.js

Thanks to the microservices architecture, it is easier to set up a quality web application than ever before. Just write the core engine and connect it with the best services that provide the application repository, database, communication, payments, login, and authentication. Doing all this is much easier if your app runs on Node.js than on any other backend environment.

It is easier to integrate Node.js with external services

Building a scalable service-oriented web application is a common goal for businesses. Modular microservices architecture is easier to set up, plug in, scale up and scale down than the traditional monolithic architecture. Instead of one “big mushroom,” you get a set of customisable bricks that you can arrange any way you want.

If you want your application to be naturally connected with the best services available, Node.js the backend solution you should choose. We have written a lot about the advantages of Node.js so far. When discussing external services integrations, there are three critical facts about Node.js that you should know:

  1. 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.

  2. JavaScript and Node.js are the most popular web application technologies at the moment. So, if a service wants to be used by developers, it supports Node.js. If there is an essential service that you would like to integrate in the future, Node.js will most likely be the first environment to be supported with an API or an SDK.

  3. Finally, 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.

An SDK is much more convenient than just an API

For the most popular technologies – like Node.js – service developers prepare not only APIs, but also ready-to-use Software Development Kits (SDK). You get a library you can use with the API. It is very convenient. You don’t need to think about the requests, or configure how the payments should be set up. It also simplifies updates. Usually when a service and its API are updated you have to update your app’s code. In case of an SDK, all you have to do is to install an update package.

Imagine you want to set up a web application. Using the microservices architecture, you can focus on creating its core – the main functionality you will provide to the users. If you are using Node.js, you can easily integrate everything else you need.

First of all, 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 arelational or non-relational database for your application.

Lambda and Serverless are both a part of Amazon Web Services. Amazon’s main competition – Microsoft and Google – have similar products known as Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions. You can find a useful comparison here. Serverless services work best with Node.js and Python, because of their modular nature.

Your users need to sign up and login in a secure way. Why not use the leading solution for this? Auth0 is used by the world’s most recognised organizations (see the list here).  They solve the most complex and large-scale identity use cases for global enterprises with their extensible and easy-to-integrate platform, securing billions of logins every year.

You probably want to use a Facebook or Twitter login as an authentication method, or maybe want your app to communicate with the most prominent social networks. Alternatively, perhaps you would like to integrate project management and communication tools such as Slack or Trello, or you want your app to operate with live chat and marketing automation tool like Zendesk or Intercom - it’s no problem either. All you have to do is add another module.

If you want to integrate your app with YouTube, just follow the guidelines. Now imagine your app wants to set up real-time communication with the users. You can do it using network sockets. Just get a SDK. While these leading internet services support most programming languages, Node’s superiority is in its convenience. For example, Facebook has an SDK for Node.js, but its SDK for Ruby on Rails has a disclaimer saying "the SDK is not thread-safe at the moment".

Did you include payments in your app? Even if you didn’t plan it when you started building it, it’s not a problem at all. You can integrate Stripe, one of the best online payment processing platforms available.

We use Stripe in several projects in Netguru. It is effortless. Stripe offers a fast JavaScript library with many functions that do most of the work for developers. The team doesn’t have to go through the whole API documentation, because Stripe continually updates it.

Most external platforms offer great support for JavaScript, and therefore Node.js. If you choose this backend technology, you’ll get the best documentation, tutorials, examples of solutions. You will also get the best chance that it will be supported in the foreseeable future. If you want to learn more about Node.js development, check out our other blog posts.

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