Node.js has its supporters and critics, just like many other technologies. But regardless of your viewpoint on the matter, it is undeniably a powerhouse because several influential companies, such as Uber, LinkedIn, and PayPal, use it.
As developers put it, “Node.js isn’t a silver-bullet latest platform that may dominate the website development world. Instead, it’s a channel that accomplishes a specific need.”
If you still have all these questions, this guide is for you. Because today we’ll dive into the world of Node.js.
Let’s get started.
Node is quick and light thanks to its event-based, non-blocking I/O approach. One of the key reasons it has become a massive hit is because of this programming paradigm. Creating software & apps that need synchronous, real-time interactions, such as chat apps and webpages, is best suited for Node.
However, it also has other applications and advantages that appeal to developers, adding to its popularity. Many large companies today rely on Node.js, including Netflix, NASA, LinkedIn, and PayPal. These businesses use Node.js features to create powerful applications for their users.
But what makes NodeJS so powerful? Let’s look.
In the last few years, Node.js has drawn developers' attention due to its many practical capabilities in the runtime environment. But there are other excellent features as well.
For novices, Node.js is excellent. It is partly because of the sizable, helpful open-source community. It's a good option for most web developers, with all the tutorials and guides accessible.
More than a million packages are available through Node package management (NPM). These packages streamline your work and are simple to install with just one command. Behind the scenes, the packages handle a lot of automation, like creating the appropriate folder structure and starting boilerplate code. You can zero in on building the project with this automation.
Node.js is based on C & C++, which allows useful tasks like networking, providing dynamic website content, and gathering form data while also giving Node.js an increase in speed.
You can create webpages, desktop applications, and even mobile apps using Node.js. Node.js abstracts system-specific functionality and converts it into APIs, enabling cross-platform support. Then, using your applications on other platforms, you may call these APIs.
The NodeJS Survey report says, “Node users tend to report positive business impact, like enhancing developer productivity & satisfaction at a reduced cost.”
One of the primary aspects of NodeJS that makes it so popular among developers is its functionality. In contrast to most alternative runtime environments, Node.js does all processing in a single thread.
The event-driven, non-blocking I/O model used by Node.js architecture makes it easier to design data-intensive, real-time apps that can run on all shared devices while also being more lightweight and efficient.
Unlike traditional web serving methods, the Node.js design works on a single thread, which launches new threads whenever a request comes in just to clog up RAM. As a result, it can handle the event loops with thousands of concurrent connections.
Theoretically, a single-thread architecture can scale and operate considerably more swiftly than a multi-thread configuration. It is another key reason why Node.js is so well-liked by web application developers and what Ryan Dahl had in mind when he first built it.
Although Node.js operates quick and effective web servers, how does it do that?
To understand how Node.js functions, we need to understand its three fundamental components -
Then there is Libuv. Libuv is a C library that handles input/output (I/O) activities. The computer takes time to process I/O instructions, while Libuv—the library Node.js uses to communicate with the computer—focuses on Asynchronous I/O. It can manage many I/O operations at once.
Although single-threaded, Node.js transfers I/O instructions effectively. The Event Loop in Node.js is a crucial layer of the process & it's a loop from the name. As Node.js starts to perform a task, the loop will start running.
As a result, the event loop in Node.js executes callbacks from asynchronous data using the JS-based V8 engine. It's also a loop & every time it runs, the V8 engine monitors the call stack to view if it should eliminate the first callback & pass it to the JS engine.
The model of Node.js is stated to be event-driven. It means that Node.js is created to listen to events & respond to them once they occur. It could be timer events, network events, or something else. Once the event gets triggered, Node.js answers via an event loop to feed event callbacks & to the engine. In the end, Node.js is ideal for real-time data transfer in apps.
Many firms are curious about why Node JS is used almost everywhere. The vital reason is its ability to efficiently manage incoming requests for server folders by reducing the waiting time. NodeJS provides the world's biggest open-source library ecosystem, npm, which offers various ready-made solutions & packages that can speed up development.
Further, Node.js promotes code reusability and sharing. npm allows developers to package their solutions into modules, share them with the rest of the community, and import packages created by others to avoid "reinventing the wheel."
Finally, Node.js is the unrivaled choice for developing apps within a microservices architecture. Because of its lightweight nature and modular design, it is straightforward to divide complex programs into simple, decoupled, and manageable microservices.
According to the Node.js user study, “Node.js is having a positive impact on users, particularly on developer productivity & satisfaction; when explaining Node.js, respondents use positive terms.”
A good deal of Node.js' functionality is stored in modules included with the software. These modules are designed to break down program building blocks into manageable bits, like Lego blocks. We simply need to import the modules we require for our programs now that this is in place.
For example, the code below imports the fs built-in module.
The fs module includes events, classes, and methods to deal with file I/O operations. Similarly, there are other modules as well, such as:
Aside from the built-in modules, you can use modules (or packages) created by other developers. Node Package Manager (NPM) is a software package with Node.js. It is in charge of all third-party modules available in Node.js. When you need a third-party package, use the npm install command to install it from NPM.
Next, it’s time to install Node.js and get started with it. Before writing code, you must install Node.js and NPM on your workstation. Installing the LTS (Long-term Support) version is a good idea because it is more stable than the current version.
Here’s how to install it.
For Windows, you can download the Windows Installer from the nodejs.org site. Find out how.
For Mac, you have to incorporate Bash.
You can use Homebrew on Mac.
To install Node on Ubuntu 18.04+, implement the following commands.
Bravo! Node.js has been successfully installed & it's ready to use.
To understand what version of Node.js you have downloaded, use the below command:
If the above command is successfully executed, you can start working with it. Or else, you can run the below command to check the NPM installation:
Next? You can enjoy NodeJS for use!
Due to its flexibility & efficiency, Node.js has enormous apps. Here are some of the reliable use cases:
Node.js now has a big developer community. On GitHub, it has thousands of contributors and is used by some of the world's largest corporations. But how does the future of Node.js look? It has come a long way since it was created in 2009. It was originally designed for back-end development but can now do much more.
Node.js can create desktop programs, front-end web applications, mobile apps, and command-line utilities. Developers will continue featuring it in an increasing number of these apps. Ready to build apps with NodeJS? MarsDevs can help. Book a slot with us today!
No, Node.js is a programming environment. Node.js is used to run back-end frameworks. Express.js (Express) for HTTP servers and Socket.IO for WebSocket servers are 2 popular, interoperable frameworks.
As NodeJS is single-threaded, we generally utilize it for non-blocking, event-driven servers. Since it was designed for real-time, push-based systems, NodeJS can also be used for regular web pages and back-end API services.
Cross-platform software is not restricted to a single operating system or hardware architecture. Similarly, it’s capable of running on several platforms. Node.js runs on various platforms, including Windows, Linux, Unix, and MacOS.