5 Best Practices to Follow for Node.js Developmentby@hiren-dhaduk
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5 Best Practices to Follow for Node.js Development

by Hiren DhadukDecember 22nd, 2021
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Node.js can do wonders in real-time web apps, but things could be unmanageable once you get beyond the basics. The ‘separation of concerns’ programming principle means that you’ll have different modules for addressing various concerns in an application. Don’t forget to minimize the front-end HTML, CSS and JavaScript code being served. Use the Express.js framework to make setting up Gzip compression extremely easy? Yes, use the [compression] middleware.
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Node.js has become popular among developers globally. The rising popularity has dramatically changed the face of web development.

To put it simply, Node.js can do wonders in real-time web apps. Undeniably, it’s easy to employ this technology; however, things could be unmanageable for you once you get beyond the basics. Knowing how to best structure code and deal with the challenges and errors throughout the development is the real thing that you should be well prepared for.

With this blog post, we’ve comprised a list of five general best practices, which you can keep in your mind during development.

Let’s get started with #1.

Follow these Best 5 Practices while Node.js Development

  1. Take a layered approach

Famous Node.js frameworks like Express.js enable developers to define callback functions. Plus, it allows them to execute when a client is received. It may be tempting to explain all business logic directly inside the functions with this flexibility.

However, if starting with this method, you’ll get to know these things can quickly escalate before knowing it, resulting in the petit server routes file that can turn into a clunky and messy blob of code. The worst scenario about that code is that it is hard to read, maintain, and manage and difficult to unit test.

To avoid this, it’s better to implement the renowned ‘separation of concerns’ programming principle. It means that you’ll have different modules for addressing various concerns in an application.

If we're speaking of server-side apps, different modules or layers should take the responsibility of catering to various aspects of processing a response for a client request.

Therefore, these aspects can be handled by programming three different layers:

  • Controller: This is the module of code where the API routes are defined. In the route handler functions, it’s possible to deconstruct the request object, opt for the essential data pieces and move to the service layer for processing.
  • Service layer: It consists of many classes and methods that take up singular responsibility and are usable. This layer effectively decouples the processing logic from where the routes are defined.
  • Data access layer: It takes up the responsibility of the database, such as fetching from, writing to, and updating it. All SQL queries, database connections, models, ORM, etc., are supposed to be defined here.

This three-layer setup provides a reliable scaffolding for most of the apps based on node.js. It also makes apps more accessible to code, maintain, debug and test.

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  1. Code compression & file size

Gzip is known as a lossless file format, which is mainly used for compressing files for faster network transfer. It can be advantageous in compressing the web pages served by node.js servers. Did you know that the Express.js framework can make setting up Gzip compression extremely easy? Yes, use the compression middleware.

Moreover, Expression.js documentation recommends enhancing application performance. Following is the code for this:

var compression = require ('compression')
var express = require ('express')
var app = express()

This compresses the response body returned by the server for each request and reduces latency and websites with faster speed.

When optimizing performance on the server-side, it is essential to check front-end code. All you need to know is the sizes of the web pages being served. Don’t forget to minimize frontend HTML, CSS, JavaScript code using tools such as HTMLMinifier, CSSNano, and UglifyJS before serving. Such minifiers are responsible for eliminating unnecessary whitespace and comments from the files. It also makes some trivial compiler optimizations and overall results in reduced file size.

The bottom line is that using Gzip compression and a minified frontend code is among the best practices to follow while Node.js development.

  1. Third-party Solutions

There’s no room for doubt that Node.js embraces a large developer community across the globe. NPM or Node’s package manager is full of feature-rich, well-maintained, well-documented frameworks, libraries, and tools for various use cases. Hence, it is convenient for developers to use these existing solutions in their projects and make the most of these APIs.

It is highly recommended to look out for the tools that make developers’ lives easier. Following are some popular Node.js libraries, which can efficiently improve the coding workflows:

  • Gulp: An automated task runner
  • Agenda: Lightweight job scheduling
  • Moment: Working with date & time
  • Winston: Logging framework
  • Nodemon: Automatically restarts app when file changes in the directory are detected.

The above libraries and tools make everything easy for developers; however, it is pivotal to be intelligent and responsible about every package that imports. Also, you should be aware of the purpose, strengths, and weaknesses of each package developers import. Additionally, it also ensures that you, as a developer, are not over-reliant on them.

  1. Make use of Application Monitoring Tools

APM tools are responsible to keep an eye on the application's performance and availability by finding out the bottlenecks and fixing the errors. The node.js monitoring tools can fix the bugs by analyzing each web result, pointing out the problem, and tracking the issues.

One of the main objectives of using APM tools is to evaluate performance metrics, quality issues, bottlenecks, standard errors, etc., and use that information to make the required changes and improvements.

An APM tool, ScoutAPM, enables developers to analyze and optimize web app’s performance. It also provides real-time insight to quickly pinpoint the issues and make changes to resolve them before finalizing them.

This APM tool is the only application performance monitoring product, which overcomes the challenges like improving performance and stability issues. For example, N+1 database queries, slow database queries, and performance abnormalities are the most common challenges.

  1. Keep your Code Clean & Easy Reusability

Linting & Formatting

All you need to do is keep improving code quality and make it easy to read. To keep this practice, your node.js code will be compact, and it will help reduce latency and speed things up. Most code setup workflows generally contain a code linter and formatter.

Code linters only deal with imperfections and have only one way to fix them. On the other hand, code formatters work towards ensuring a set of formatting and styling guidelines that must be consistent throughout the project.

ESLint, JSLint, and JSHint are the most common JavaScript linters. And, Prettier is the code formatter. It does not care about the meaning of the code, only about how it looks. Bonus is that most IDEs/code editors such as Visual Studio Code (VSCode), Atom, etc., understand the importance of writing quality code and providing linting and formatting plugins, which are extremely easy to set up.

Moreover, some IDEs provide helpful features such as intelligent code completion, debugging tools, code navigation, and refactoring. These tools embrace some advantages, so it is highly recommended to use one of such IDEs setup for coding workflows.

Style Guides

Another best practice that you need to follow is to refer to JavaScript style guides and standards used by Goliaths like Google and Airbnb. These guidelines cover up everything from naming conventions like files, variables & classes to format specifics to file encodings and much more. What’s more: it helps you to write quality code that conforms to practices and standards used by some of the top developers across the globe.

To Sum Up

We’ve tried to represent the most important best practices, which can be considered during development in order to avoid challenges with minimal work done. Remember: hiring a professional team of node.js developers is always a great idea that can help you with and everything about writing clean code and so much more.

For developers: it’s time to get started to implement everything into your project that you’ve learned today. You can keep these practices handy and exploit the benefits in order to create fast and scalable node.js applications.