Why you should choose Node.js for server development

server development

Node.JS is a technology that has transformed JavaScript, familiar to all web developers, from a client-side scripting language to a general-purpose language that has a large number of application use cases.

This article will focus on using Node to develop server-side applications.

How does Node compare to other server-side scripting technologies?

At the heart of Node.js is asynchronous. In addition to non-blocking I / O, this allows a Node.js server application to serve many more client requests per unit of time than a similar application developed with most other server development technologies.

What does this mean for business?

  • You can launch your project with relatively little server infrastructure costs.
  • With the right architecture, this allows you to scale your business without investing a lot of money.

What does this mean for developers?

  • If there is no understanding of the work of asynchronous code and experience with it, then it will be very difficult at first. It is difficult to understand that some instruction is written “upstream” may be executed much later than the subsequent ones, or may not be executed at all. You will need to study well the concepts of callbacks, promises, async-await wrappers over promises, synchronous and asynchronous generators, iterators. But it structures thinking very well, allows you to look differently at the program execution process and understand how much time a “normal” – synchronous – program is wasting – during waiting periods, and also to learn how to save this time.
  • A good understanding of asynchronous development approaches greatly increases the value of a specialist in the labor market and, accordingly, allows you to qualify for a higher salary.

Node allows you to quickly develop MVPs. Node has already developed a large number of packages with different functionality. You don’t have to waste time developing the basic functionality but immediately focus on the business logic.

What does this mean for business?

  • The new product will be brought to market faster (TTM will decrease).
  • Less money will be spent on the development process because it will take fewer developer hours to create the first version of the product.
  • The faster the hypotheses formed during the initial market research will be tested, the faster adjustments will be made to the product, and the faster, ultimately, the funds will turn over. This is a very important characteristic for project investors.

What does this mean for developers?

  • You don’t have to reinvent “bicycles” on every project, which inevitably causes a lot of mistakes and makes the work boring, but to deal closely with tasks that are important for the project.
  • Great freedom in choosing an approach, building architecture, and finalizing standard functionality that does not meet the requirements of the architect and/or customer.
  • Node is built on top of the JavaScript language. As a result, this significantly increases the likelihood of developing full-stack specialists in the development team: front-endders who are good at backend or backend people who are good at front-end.

Node.js is very closely related to JavaScript, the syntax and architectural approaches are identical, the only difference is in the “binding” (browser and server).

What does this mean for business?

  • The development team will have specialists with a broader view of the problem, which means that the burden on management will decrease.
  • The development process will be more efficient because it is always easier and faster for a person (full stack developer) to agree with himself than with another person. Thus, the costs of communication between specialists are reduced.
  • Fewer errors will occur during the development process since floating bugs often occur at the junction of different development technologies with different types of data.
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What does this mean for developers?

  • If before that you had to work closely with the frontend, then there is a good understanding of the processes that occur with data in the user part of the resource, and, as a result, a simpler dialogue with the frontend.
  • A good full-stack specialist is often valued more in the marketplace than a good backend or front-end developer
  • If there is a sufficient amount of time allotted for the development of the project, you can independently make both the front and the back, thereby avoiding a huge number of “collisions”, which often take a lot of time to solve.

Naturally, like any other technology, Node has drawbacks.

What are the weaknesses of Node?

  1. Node works very quickly with a large number of lightweight requests (such as that that do not require lengthy data processing, complex calculations, etc.), but its performance drops dramatically if the requests require the use of large server resources.
  2. The language and the engine of its execution are very actively developing and sometimes it happens that individual packages are incompatible with each other or with the current version of the platform, which can lead to a complete failure of the project when updating the “engine” or a separate package.

Often these disadvantages are used by opponents of Node in order to explain the reluctance to use it in production. Moreover, in confirmation of the first drawback, it is often stated that Node is single-threaded, so you cannot write serious applications on it. At the current stage of technology development, this is completely wrong. First, there has long been an approach in which multiple instances of the application are launched, and the Nginx web server is used as the load balancer. Secondly, in modern versions of Node, there is a built-in ability to create clusters from single-threaded processes, as well as special utilities for load balancing, automatic restart of processes, control over memory usage, etc.

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The second disadvantage of Node is easy enough to compensate. Firstly, in no case should you use the indication of the package version in the “latest” format, but specify the exact version of the package with which the system is guaranteed to be compatible. Second, to avoid losing access to exact versions of packages in the public register, make copies of them in the local register. Thirdly, do not update the platform or package versions in the production environment without first testing this bundle in the development environment (the statement is obvious, but it is often ignored).

With the first drawback, the situation is a little more complicated, since We will not be able to “overclock” Node in resource-intensive operations. But there is a solution – to transfer operations that create a high hardware load to individual components of the system that are not written in Node, often even located on separate physical or virtual machines. There are various options for implementing this solution: microservice architecture, connecting modules written in other programming languages, etc.

It is convenient to use as technologies that allow implementing high-performance functionality: Rust, Go, C ++.

Where is Node convenient to use?

Technology is great for most projects in the modern world of web development. The founders of almost any project at the start dream of having as many people as possible using their product. Examples of projects:

  • online stores;
  • video and audio hosting;
  • messengers;
  • social networks;
  • any b2c products.

For all these areas, Node allows you to implement, as mentioned above, a quick start, and then a quick, relatively inexpensive horizontal scaling.

Node projects

During the year leading up to this writing, we have applied technology to develop from scratch resources such as:

  • freelance exchange;
  • spare parts marketplace;
  • realtime auction (API for mobile application and web version);
  • an interactive system for creating media materials for social networks;
  • system for organizing e-mail mailings;
  • assistant inspector of trade enterprises (API for a mobile application);
  • patient assistant (API for a mobile application).

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