A Brief Intro to Node.js
Before we dig deeper into the features of Node.js, let us first catch a glimpse of its architecture.
Node.js employs a “Single Threaded Event Loop” design to manage several concurrent clients. The Node.js processing model employs two basic fundamentals-
- Asynchronous Model
- Non Blocking of I/O Operations
Components of Node.js Architecture
- Requests: There are two kinds of requests, incoming and outgoing. Node.js maintains the minimum thread pool to serve the requests. The requests to the server can either be blocking or non-blocking.
- Node.js Server: The Node.js server is responsible for accepting the user requests, processing them, and returning the results to the users.
- Event Queue: The Node.js server retrieves the incoming requests and sends them to the event Queue in a sequence.
- Thread Pool: The library maintains a pool of threads that are used by node.js for performing operations required to process requests.
- Event Loop: Event Loop, the core component of the architecture, receives requests from the Event Queue, picks it up, checks whether it requires a blocking input/output (I/O) operation, and sends out the responses to the clients.
- External Resources: To handle the blocking client requests, auxiliary threads called worker threads are used when the limited internal threads are not available.
The Event Loop in this way handles the blocking requests.
As there are fewer threads in Node.js, therefore the resources, memory, etc. utilized are less and so it has faster execution making it a great choice for real-time execution.
Advantages of Node.js
When asked about Node.js, people described it as “fast”, “easy”, “powerful” and “flexible”, Due to its wonderful features, almost 52% of developers named Node.js as the technology they love using for their work.
But it’s quite a mouthful!
Here’s what we tried to catch about the advantages of Node.js.
- Handling Multiple Requests: With a sound architecture of Node.js and holding the concepts of Event Queue and Thread Pool, the technology can handle multiple requests with ease.
- Less Memory Recorded: It does not require multiple threads and also less memory/resources are needed.
- Simplified Working: Due to a large number of packages (around 1 lakh) available in NPM, has simplified working in open-source Node.js.
- Fast Development: Being written in C and C++, Node.js is speedy and has features like network support.
- Speedy Execution: The speed of code execution is enhanced as it supports the Non-blocking I/O Operations.
- Customizable: With JSON one can provide the scope for the exchange of data between the web server and the client. Node.js is highly extensible, which means that you can customize and further extend it as per the requirements.
NPM: The Node Package Manager
With every Node.js installation, comes its prized possession tool, npm, Node Package Manager. It is a popular package library mostly used in conjunction with Node.js, although it can be used independently as well.
NPM is open-source and can install all dependencies of a project through the package.json file, a file located in the root directory.
The database of packages is known as the npm registry. Some of the top npm packages are- lodash, async, react, request, express, etc.
Where Node.js should be used?
Getting an overview of the features and advantages, it is a bit easy to understand where should Node.js be used?
- Real-Time Apps (RTA’s) or CHAT: As Node.js ensures great speed, it can definitely be a great pick for real-time or chat applications. The technology can support hefty traffic and multiple requests with ease. The heavy input/output operations are handled by the asynchronous and event-driven nature of Node.
- Single Page Apps (SPA’s): SPA is the single-page app having the allotment of the entire application on one page. Due to the asynchronous data flow at the backend, Node.js is a good fit for the development of single-page applications.
- IoT Applications: Node.js is powerful and its architecture has enabled a strong take on data handling of the simultaneous requests sent by lots and lots of peripheral devices. IoT apps therefore can be built using the synergy of Node.js IoT. Also, you can easily integrate Node.js with IoT protocols.
- Data streaming Apps: With the most sought-after technology, you can sell/transmit the content at the same time as it is being uploaded by keeping the ports open. Node.js cracks the deal when it comes to data streaming.
- Hardware Programming: Using the discussed giant tech and its frameworks, the robots, quadcopters, bots, etc. can be integrated to create Js-controlled devices like Nodebots.
Where Node.js Should Not be Used?
- Heavy server-side processing. Node’s flawless beauty is restricted to low computations. If there is a heavy computation that requires the involvement of intensive operations on the CPU and on the server-side, then Node will fall off and might not impress you.
- Server-side applications with a relational database. The server-side apps having a relational database in the backend, having leaden compilations might block the responsiveness of Node.js. The relational DB toll of Node.js is still underdeveloped.
Web Framework for Node.js
Node.js is a go-to choice for developers in 2022 and so people are trying their hands on even its frameworks. Let’s know about the top Node frameworks.
- Express.js: Also, termed Express, works on top of the Node.js web server and provides helpful functionalities. It’s simple to set up and easy to organize. Also, Express.js allows you to define application routes using HTTP methods and URL.
- Koa.js: Koa was designed with an aim to be smaller, more expressive, and have the most robust foundation of web applications and API. It improves interoperability, and robustness, and makes writing middleware much more enjoyable. Developers can start using the smaller frameworks of Node.js to make code more enjoyable.
- Hapi.js: It is a powerful and robust open-source best node JS framework for development. Hapi.js is best known for creating desktop apps, REST API, and Proxy servers. It comes along with a range of built-in extensions. The framework is compatible with Mongo Db, MySQL, and similar databases.
- Meteor.js: Meteor.js is an excellent platform for building as doesn’t require code separate between is all a part of one code base that communicates smoothly. It is cross-platform and the zero-configuration build tool provides code splitting and dynamic imports.
Popular Companies using Node.js
Are you concerned about the use of the crowned technology i.e. Node.js, then here are the top giants that have their hands tried on to the tool.
Believe it or not, Node.js has been a game-changer in the long run. It is still an emerging yet trending gem that comes with a bag full of features.
It is worth trying technology to scale and develop. So are you considering using Node.js in your next project?