Advent of NodeJs as Web Apps Backend Development Framework

Summary:

Since last few years there has been quite an explosion of JavaScript frameworks in the technology landscape, both open source and proprietary. However, only few of them have got acceptance and traction in terms of adoption by the industry to build large scale web applications. There are significant factors that determine adoption of a technology such as learning curve, code maintenance, upgrades, support and last but not the least cost. Many large-scale enterprises have invested time and effort in developing new JavaScript technology and are competing against each other to gain significant market share. This white paper focusses on Node.Js s a framework to build server side application for any Web Application. In this whitepaper, we shall focus on why Node.Js is getting so much traction in the industry.

Introducing Node.Js

Node.JS is an Open Source, Cross Platform Run-time environment. Initially Node.Js was built as a framework for server side programming for a Web Application. However, as its implementation started becoming better day by day, it is now considered as a bridge between Client (Web UI) and Server (Back end). The framework is built on Google V8 JavaScript engine and is currently the fastest in terms of performance and can run on distributed platforms.

There is a two-way data exchange between client and the server by means of Push method thereby replacing the Web Sockets. This has enabled real time data flow between the client and the server.

Node.Js has been backed by good number of developers and contributors from the open source community. It is also getting traction from big tech giants in the field of E-Commerce and has a growing number of adopters in the industry.

Let’s have a high-level overview of the features that makes Node.Js so popular among the development community;

1. Fast Performance

As mentioned earlier, Node.Js is built of Google V8 JavaScript Engine. This compiles and executes the JavaScript code into native machine language, thereby the entire processing becomes quick and fast. Multitasking is achieved by an asynchronous event loop. Here, during an I/O intensive operation, asynchronous tasks are spawned with call back methods registered with the event loop and other processing is done in parallel. When the call back method gets called, the relevant sync operation gets completed in the event loop and control is given back to the task in hand.

This way many organizations are moving to Node.Js as back end for not just the Web UI but also to Mobile Apps to do I/O intensive operation concurrently on distributed systems.

2. It’s JavaScript

One of the big advantages to migrate to Node.Js is that the backend developer who is hands on with JavaScript does not have to learn any new language.

In the initial days, server side application development was being done using PHP, Java or Python whereas client side application was being developed using HTML/CSS. Modern day Web UI needs to be responsive and can run on Web browsers on multiple devices including desktops, tablets and mobile phones. This feature can be achieved by developing the Web UI using native JavaScript language or by using many of the JavaScript front end development frameworks such as Angular, ReactJS, Sencha ExtJS etc. Node.JS plays a vital role in acting as a link between Web UI and server side application by using the common JavaScript language.

This way a Web application developer has access to and visibility of all the layers of the application. Also, the amount of developers needed with different competencies has been reduced.

3. Suitable for Real Time Applications

Node.Js provides the possibility of sharing some JavaScript code between the client and the server. This feature enables real time performance of applications such as tracking, chatting and gaming etc.

Any application that has real time data exchange between client and the server is a perfect fit for Node.Js. In such applications, there is a need to event based server that is non-blocking and asynchronous.

4. Community Support through NPM

Node.Js has a large and every growing community of developers that are delivering open source packages. Node Package Manager (NPM) is an online archive for all these Node.JS packages published. NPM provides reusable code as a package that can be used for the application development. With this strong backing of the community, NPM hosts one of the largest collection of open source Node.Js projects in the world.

Angular, ReactJS uses NPM Node Modules such as react, gulp etc. Some of these packages are available in the links below.

https://www.npmjs.com/package/react

https://www.npmjs.com/package/gulp

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