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5 Reasons to Choose Node.js

Jarett Martin

This article explores 5 reasons to choose NodeJS for your backend applications with comparison to some top competitors.

posted in Node.js on February 2, 2021 by Jarett Martin


5 Reasons to Choose Node.js

Jarett Martin by Jarett Martin

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you are accustomed to using a particular language or framework. But have you taken a look at what Node.js has to offer?

Node.js has a robust package manager, broad AWS support, and potential for rapid development, and in our opinion, it stacks up against Java, Go, Ruby on Rails, and Python. Take a look at five reasons why Node.js might be the perfect framework for your next project.

1. Language sharing across the stack

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JavaScript and TypeScript are widely used in  front-end technologies. Node.js allows you to  use JavaScript for back-end development, and as a result, it becomes easy to match back-end functions to front-end functions. 

You can share code between client and server applications while using Node.js, and you will  be using JavaScript for both sides of the development process, enabling better communication between back-end and front-end teams. This also makes full-stack development easier and more accessible, so you don’t need to find an engineer competent in multiple programming languages. 

JavaScript is dynamically typed, and while many Node.js developers prefer to work with JavaScript, those who prefer static typing can make use of TypeScript. Node.js enables you to use either option you prefer, letting you customize your working environment to meet your particular needs.

Finally, another benefit of using Node.js is built in  JSON support. JSON is the backbone for most HTTP communication, and while most other backend languages need special libraries to parse JSON, Node.js does it out of the box.

2. Rapid Development

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Node.js makes the process of starting development quick,. Node.js servers can be started with very little effort, and a basic, “Hello World” API can be up and running in under a minute. Thanks to how easy it is to create an API in Node, Node.js is also an excellent choice for developers creating microservice environments, as they link many APIs together. Node.js is an excellent choice for prototyping solutions and architectures as it makes experimentation fast and straightforward. 

Once you are deeper into the development cycle, you can switch back and forth between dynamically typing and static typing as needed, giving you control over how individual components of your system are designed. 

Node.js allows you to use as many libraries as you need, which you can create yourself or download and use through the Node.js Package Manager.

3. The Node Package Manager

npm

One of the best reasons to choose Node.js is NPM, the Node.js Package Manager. NPM lets you download packages of code created by other developers and use them in your own projects. This means you don’t need to write as much code from scratch. . Node.js is home to the largest software library registry in the world.

NPM makes managing application dependencies easy, installing not just the library’s code, but also all the dependencies for that library. 

Another benefit of using NPM is that you can script infrastructure-related tasks with JSON files. Package.json scripts allow you to automate aspects of DevOPS/IAC tasks. You can set up code to compile, publish your code, and build local environments using these scripts.

4. Single-threaded event loop architecture is ideal for microservices

 

loop

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Most web development frameworks make use of a multi-threaded request-response architecture to handle concurrency. Node.js uses a single-threaded event loop architecture. This style of event handling favors microservice architectures.

A multi-threaded request-response system only has a certain number of threads to work with, and when more requests come in than available threads the requests will have to wait until threads are freed up.

A single-threaded event loop architecture uses single threads and queues. Single-threaded event loops take items from a queue and run them through an event loop, determining if the requests are I/O operations. If they are blocking IO requests then they are picked up by a thread. Otherwise, the requests can be handled while other IO requests are being carried out. This event loop structure enables requests to be handled efficiently.

Node.js's single-threaded event loop architecture eliminates the need for thread management or the management of connections/pools. It’s also resource-efficient, using a fraction of the memory of typical event processing systems and is whyNode.js is used by some of the most high traffic sites on the web, including Twitter, Zillow, the BBC, and Discord.

5. Native support in AWS


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All web applications need a host, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the most popular hosting platform around, comprising 32% of the cloud market. Node.js is natively supported by AWS and tightly integrated with the platform. 

Amazon has an in-browser Integrated Development Environment (IDE) called Cloud9 that allows the user to write and edit code directly from their browser. This is one of the lowest barriers of entry for a scalable microservice and it is compatible with Node.js.

Not only is JavaScript available for use with AWS tools like its dedicated Cloud9 IDE, but Node.js can make use of both Amazon’s Internet of Things (IoT) SDK and the AWS Cloud Development Kit for JavaScript. The SDK also supports TypeScript.

How Node.js stacks up

You’ve just seen 5 great reasons to choose Node.js. Here’s a table of these features that shows how competing languages and frameworks compare with Node.js. 

Language or Framework

Language Sharing Across Stack

Rapid Development

Package Manager

Concurrency

Native AWS Support

Node.js

Javascript dominates the front end webspace.

New machines can serve a Node.JS server in under a minute.

NPM is integrated and necessary. Use of open-source is encouraged.

Completely hands-off, concurrency is a core tenant of Node.js 

Hosting language support and browser IDE support.

Go

Not applicable

Fewer open-source libraries.

No centralized repository for modules and difficult to import modules.

Concurrency is one of the pillars of Go, but it can be a big investment to do it right.

Hosting language support and browser IDE support.

Java

JSP and Swing outdated.

Spring Boot can be heavy on system resources.

Maven has a solid repository of libraries to use.

Concurrency must be planned and managed with great care.

Limited browser IDE and hosting language support.

Python

Not widely used, or just compiles Javascript.

Frameworks like Django and Flask make setup of dev environments quick.

Pypi has recently made Python libraries visible via browser.

Different code styles and use of threading needed for async. activity.

Hosting language support and browser IDE support.

Ruby on Rails

Not applicable

Development is typically fast once set up.

Dependency management can be cumbersome, 

Abstracts away much of the complexity, requiring less focus on thread management.

Hosting language support and browser IDE support.

ASP.NET

Support for Windows apps, but not very applicable to modern development.

Takes a long time to compile and configure, but moves smoothly once set up.

Versatile, but no single avenue for dependency management.

Thread management is required, but code is typically clean thanks to keyword use.

Very little browser IDE support, limited hosting support.

We hope you found this close look at the great features of Node.js helpful! To learn more and get started developing, visit their site.

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